FDA Approves Plan B for Over-the-Counter Sale

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Finally. The emergency contraceptive, which can prevent pregnancy if taken up to 72 hours after sex, will be be available over-the-counter to women over 18 as soon as the drug’s maker reprints the packaging. This comes nearly three years after an independent FDA advisory committee voted overwhelmingly that Plan B is perfectly safe for over-the-counter sale without age restrictions.

As part of the FDA approval, the drug’s maker agrees to “conduct an education campaign … to raise awareness and knowledge levels about emergency contraception.” This is great news, because recent surveys have shown only one in five women is aware that there are effective methods of after-sex contraception.

Now for the bad news: Women under 18 will still have to get a doctor’s note to purchase Plan B for themselves, even though all research says that the drug can be safely and effectively used by teens. The age restriction means that Plan B will not be sold in convenience stores, but only at businesses with a licensed pharmacist. In this way, it also affects women 18 and up. Not every town in America has a 24-hour pharmacy, but most have a 24-hour gas station. Pharmacist refusals are likely to remain a huge problem.

And even though the FDA has finally caved to common sense, the Center for Reproductive Rights lawsuit against the agency will continue. Depositions in the case show the White House intervened in the FDA’s supposedly independent decision-making process, and the Center has subpoenaed members of the Bush administration. This ain’t over yet.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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