Obama Administration Announces Plans to Make Plan B One-Step Available Without Age Restriction

Center for Reproductive Rights calls for equal access to more affordable, generic options

(PRESS RELEASE) The Obama Administration has submitted a plan today in response to a federal court order to lift longstanding restrictions that impede and delay women's access to emergency contraception by making Plan B One-Step available over the counter without age or point of sale restrictions. 

In his April 5 decision, Judge Korman ordered the FDA to make levonorgestrel-based emergency contraception available over-the-counter without age or point of sale restriction-citing the actions by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as “politically motivated, scientifically unjustified, and contrary to agency precedent.” 

Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights: 

“Now that the appeals court has forced the federal government’s hand, the FDA is finally taking a significant step forward by making Plan B One-Step available over the counter for women of all ages. 

“But the Obama Administration continues to unjustifiably deny the same wide availability for generic, more affordable brands of emergency contraception. 

“We are pleased that women should soon be able to buy Plan B One-Step without the arbitrary restrictions that kept it locked behind the pharmacy counter when they needed it most urgently. But we will continue to fight for fair treatment for women who want and need more affordable options.” 

The Obama Administration appealed Korman’s decision on May 1, one day after the FDA approved an application from Plan B One-Step to be sold over-the-counter to women ages 15 and up—but only in stores that have an on-site pharmacy and if the woman can prove her age. 

Last week, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the FDA to immediately comply with Judge Korman’s court order as it applied to two-pill versions of levonorgestrel-based emergency. However, the appellate court’s decision stayed Judge Korman’s order as it applies to one-pill products, such as Plan B One-Step, pending the outcome of the government’s appeal. 

The Center reopened Tummino v. Hamburg in February 2012 along with Andrea Costello of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund and Kirsten Clanton of Southern Legal Counsel on behalf of grassroots feminist activists with National Women's Liberation and 15-year-old Anaya Kelly. The Center also represents the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP), National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and parents who seek over-the-counter access for their daughters in the case.