The biggest U.S. civil liberties story of the week was three years in the making: The Food and Drug Administration has finally approved sale of Plan B (levornogestrel) without a prescription
. What does this mean, in practical terms?
- Rape victims will no longer be forced to choose between abortion and carrying a rape-induced pregnancy to term.
- Safe sex will now be an after-sex as well as pre-sex consideration. While it's no substitute for preventive measures, Plan B will prevent 89% of pregnancies if taken for up to 72 hours after sexual intercourse.
- The politically-motivated FDA stonewall on Plan B access is finally over.
But for every silver lining there's a dark cloud:
- Customers must ask for Plan B by name, which allows pharmacists who feel that their customers are "irresponsible and should suffer the consequences," and who subsequently refuse to stock Plan B, to put their, uhm, values into action.
- The FDA ruling still requires minors to seek a prescription for Plan B. All purchasers must be 18 and up.