People who have knowledge of and access to contraceptives tend to have fewer unwanted pregnancies and therefore fewer abortions. It’s no accident that the world’s lowest abortion rates are found in Belgium and the Netherlands, where contraception is widely available, or that the highest rates are in Cuba and Vietnam, where access is limited.
After a three-year fight, the Bush administration signaled that it may be ready to reverse course and approve over-the-counter sales of an emergency contraceptive pill despite strong opposition from the religious right.
In December advisers to the Food and Drug Administration recommended that a “morning-after pill,” previously available only by prescription, be made available to U.S. consumers over the counter. The pill, marketed as “Preven” and “Plan B,” is not the same as RU-486, the “abortion pill” that terminates development of a fertilized egg in the uterus.
Cheers and criticism have followed a Food and Drug Administration panel recommendation that the so-called morning-after pill be made available over the counter. The panel voted 23-4 that the drug, also known as Plan B, should be made available without a prescription.