Critical Condition

Plan B: what you should know (and what you are being prevented from doing) about the morning-after pill

I’ve heard a lot about Plan B. Do I need a prescription to get it or not? I’m confused.

You’re not the only one. So is the Food Drug Administration (FDA). Plan B – also known as the morning-after pill – is a form of emergency contraception used to prevent unplanned pregnancy. It’s basically a birth control pill of a special dosage that you can take up to 72 hours after unprotected sex to reduce the risk of pregnancy. Sounds straightforward, right? Not according to the FDA. The FDA rejected one application to sell Plan B over the counter, and has delayed making a decision on a second application even though it was due last January. For now, whether you need a prescription or not depends on where you live. So far only eight states (including Alaska, California, Hawaii, Maine, New Mexico, New Hampshire, and Washington) have passed legislation making Plan B available over the counter. In the other 42 states, you need a prescription from your doctor.

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This article is reprinted from Campus, the youth-oriented magazine of the Center for American Progress.

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