After years of hassling over whether to approve over-the-counter sales of the Plan B contraceptives, the FDA has finally relented and announced yesterday
that the "morning after" pill would become available for purchase by adults by the end of the year. (NY Times
; Wall Street Journal
; Washington Post
) Compared to the original application three years ago, which sought approval for sales by under-18's as well, this is something of a compromise, and a disappointment to advocates for broader access. Much of the agency's foot-dragging was wrapped in official comments that questioned the adequacy of safety data for teenaged users, although critics of the agency believed the doubts were a smokescreen for the Bush administration, which appeared to opposed broadening the availability of this contraceptive on political grounds. Their bottom line -- on a number of issues -- seems to be that they are against anything that might make teen sex a little less dangerous and therefore a little more attractive: "Plan A (Abstinence) or the highway!" Could a government policy be more backward? At least yesterday's announcement is a start. Meanwhile, according to the AP, "[t]he Center for Reproductive Rights said a lawsuit filed last year to do away with all age restrictions would continue."