US is to allow sales of emergency contraceptives without restrictions

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 12 June 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3837
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

Ending a 12 year battle, the Obama administration has decided to abandon its efforts to keep age restrictions on the over the counter emergency contraceptives known as “morning after” pills.

The levonorgestrel based drugs can safely prevent pregnancy if they are taken shortly after unprotected sex, preferably within 24 hours, though they can still be effective up to 72 hours.

But concerns that unrestricted sales of the drugs over the counter would promote promiscuity and undermine parental authority had led to political pressure to limit young women’s access to the drugs.

In addition, although the drugs are thought to prevent pregnancy by suppressing ovulation and inhibiting fertilization, many anti-abortion …

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