A federal judge ruled early this morning that the so-called morning-after pill must be made available over the counter to women and girls of all ages, according to a report in The New York Times.
The government had required a prescription for girls 16 and younger. The drug, sold under brand names like Plan B and Ella, prevents implantation of a fertilized egg or causes an early abortion. It is marketed as a method of “emergency” contraception.
In 2011, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius ignored recommendations by the Food and Drug Administration to make the drug available to all without a prescription. Her decision surprised many given the Obama administration’s strong support for abortion.
Although the drug is supposed to be kept behind the pharmacy counter, government regulators have approved dispensing it in a vending machine in at least one location—Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania.