Statement as issued Friday by Planned Parenthood of Indiana:
(Indianapolis) – Today, in a landmark decision for women’s health, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York ruled in Tummino v. Hamburg that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must lift the age restriction for over-the-counter (OTC) access to emergency contraception (EC).
Currently, emergency contraception is available without a prescription for individuals age 17 and older, while those under 17 must present a prescription. The court’s decision will remove this barrier and give all women access to one more safe and effective birth control option.
The FDA is required to make levonorgestrel-based emergency contraception, such as Plan B One-Step, available over-the-counter without age or point of sale restrictions within 30 days of the Court’s decision.
This is a significant and long overdue step in women’s health.
“Making emergency contraception more accessible is a positive step forward in reproductive health care policy,” said Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN). “Ideally, young women and men are well-informed about and prepared for the consequences of becoming sexually active. But, as we know, life isn’t always ideal.”
EC is effective for up to 120 hours after intercourse, with its effectiveness diminishing with time. As many as 11 percent of women who have been sexually active have used EC, according to a recent report from the National Center on Health Statistics. The percentage is higher among younger women. Last year, PPIN distributed nearly 8,500 doses of EC in its health centers throughout the state.
“EC is key to decreasing the incidence of abortion in this country, as it reduces the number of unintended pregnancies,” Cockrum noted. “We applaud the Court’s decision today and look forward to the FDA taking action on this ruling.”