The Food and Drug Administration will allow 17-year-olds to get the "morning-after" birth control pill without a doctor's prescription. The agency said today it would not appeal a federal judge's recent order overturning restrictions imposed during the Bush administration. The judge had ruled that Bush appointees let politics, not science, drive their decision to allow over-the-counter access only for women 18 and older.
In a statement, the FDA indicates that it is ready to approve the change once the manufacturer requests it. Plan B is emergency contraception that contains a high dose of birth-control drugs and doesn't interfere with an established pregnancy. Religious conservatives say it is the equivalent of an abortion pill because it can prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. Women's groups say the decision is long overdue.