US court lifts restrictions on some emergency contraceptives

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 10 June 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3760
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

A US appeal court has ruled that the Food and Drug Administration must allow sales over the counter of some emergency contraceptives without age restrictions until the court rules on an appeal by the federal government, which seeks to maintain restrictions on the drugs.

The decision is the latest turn in the legal battle over access to emergency contraceptives that began more than a decade ago.

The levonorgestrel based contraceptives, often referred to as “morning after” pills, have been shown to be effective in preventing pregnancy if taken promptly after unprotected sex.

However, the drugs have been controversial,1 because of concerns that they promote promiscuity and undermine parental authority and because opponents of abortion have said that the …

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