On February 14th, a coalition of more than 60 medical and reproductive rights groups filed a petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declaring emergency contraception (also known as the “morning-after pill”) safe, and urging over-the-counter availability of the drug.
Emergency contraception pills (ECPs) have been available in the U.S. with a doctor’s prescription since 1998. However, in many European countries, most recently Britain, ECPs are available over-the-counter. Washington State is currently operating a program that allows doctors to collaborate with pharmacists to provide EC to women without a doctor’s visit.
Reproductive health experts believe that wider access to emergency contraceptives could cut the U.S. unwanted pregnancy rate in half.