The FDA Just Made A Major Move To Protect Plan B From Anti-Abortion Legislation

On December 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it is making significant alterations to Plan B packaging to clarify it is not an abortion pill. After the overturn of Roe v. Wade earlier this year, a nationwide scare erupted for those who rely on the morning-after pill as a backup method for preventing pregnancy. Things got so out of hand, CVS and Rite Aid pharmacies created a three-per-customer limit, per Bloomberg. In response, the FDA released a statement regarding misinformation about the emergency contraceptive. 


"Plan B One-Step will not work if a person is already pregnant, meaning it will not affect an existing pregnancy," according to the FDA website. It is to be used within 72 hours after other contraceptives have failed (i.e. the condom broke, or you realized later you forgot to take your birth control). The pill contains higher levels of levonorgestrel (the hormonal medication found in birth control), which prevents or delays the ovary from releasing an egg. 

However, the elevated dosage will not have any effect on an already fertilized egg, which is why the FDA is taking action.

What this means for the anti-abortion legislation

Initially, the product description stated Plan B One-Step could potentially "prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb," which sparked major controversy in the anti-abortion community. After the overturn of Roe v. Wade, several states passed laws banning abortion — some going as far as allowing pharmacists to refuse to sell emergency contraceptives, with the belief that life starts at fertilization, CNBC states. Now, due to the FDA's plan, the morning-after pill packaging will no longer contain any mention of its ability to restrict an egg from fertilizing, says CBS News


The FDA affirmed the fact that taking the morning-after pill does not equate to having an abortion, stating, "Evidence does not support that the drug affects implantation or maintenance of a pregnancy after implantation, therefore it does not terminate a pregnancy." Even though medical professionals have known this for years, many are just learning about what Plan B actually can and cannot do. This change is intended to help deter misinformation, particularly when it comes to anti-abortion states, clinics, and pharmacies that may have otherwise placed unnecessary restrictions on the drug.

What you need to know before taking the pill

It's important to note that while it does prevent pregnancy, taking Plan B as the sole means of contraception is not advised. According to the Mayo Clinic, the emergency contraceptive isn't as successful as other forms of contraception, nor is it 100% effective. Even if you take Plan B as directed, there is still a chance you may become pregnant, which is why it's crucial you are using other methods of prevention. There are several factors that can interfere with your body's response to Plan B, such as your weight and other medications you might be taking.


While it's okay to take the pill as often as you need (via Planned Parenthood), using it as your only method of birth control is not a good idea as it is not as effective as other options, it is far more expensive than other contraceptives, and there are potential side effects like nausea, irregular cycles, and spotting between periods that you won't necessarily experience with other methods of birth control. Remember, Plan B is an emergency contraceptive, not one you should be taking every day. Do yourself a favor and save it for times when you truly need it.