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Birth Control Health Center

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U.S. Ends Effort to Limit Access to 'Morning-After' Pill

FDA will heed court order mandating that women, girls of all ages have over-the-counter access


A day later, on May 1, the Obama Administration stepped in to appeal the Korman decision.

At the time of the FDA's move to lower the age limit, agency commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said in a news release that, "research has shown that access to emergency contraceptive products has the potential to further decrease the rate of unintended pregnancies in the United States."

"The data reviewed by the agency demonstrated that women 15 years of age and older were able to understand how Plan B One-Step works, how to use it properly and that it does not prevent the transmission of a sexually transmitted disease," Hamburg said.

Plan B prevents implantation of a fertilized egg in a woman's uterus through the use of levonorgestrel, a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone used for decades in birth control pills. Plan B contains 1.5 milligrams of levonorgestrel, more than the pill contains. It is considered a form of birth control, not abortion.

Other brands of emergency contraception include Next Choice and Ella.

Planned Parenthood has long pushed for wider access to emergency contraception, with Richards calling it "an important step forward."

But conservative groups have objected to the move. In April, Janice Shaw Crouse, director of the Beverly LaHaye Institute, the think tank for the conservative women's group Concerned Women for America, called Korman's ruling "a political decision, made by those who stand to profit financially from an action that puts ideology ahead of the nation's girls and young women."

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