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FDA changes Plan B packaging to make clear that it just isn’t an abortion pill

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On this photo illustration, PlanB one-step emergency contraceptive is displayed on June 30, 2022 in San Anselmo, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration is changing the informational packaging of the emergency contraceptive pill, Plan B One-Step, to make clear that it just isn’t an abortion pill, the federal agency announced Friday.

Plan B is an over-the-counter drug that may be taken as a backup approach to contraception to cut back the possibility of pregnancy after unprotected sex. If taken inside 72 hours after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure, Plan B works by stopping or delaying the discharge of an egg from the ovary, not by causing an abortion, the agency said.

“Plan B One-Step won’t work if an individual is already pregnant, meaning it would not affect an existing pregnancy,” the FDA said in a release. “Evidence doesn’t support that the drug affects implantation or maintenance of a pregnancy after implantation, due to this fact it doesn’t terminate a pregnancy.”

Until now, packaging for Plan B and generic versions of the drug have erroneously claimed that taking the pill might have the opportunity to stop a fertilized egg from implanting. Medical professionals say this claim just isn’t backed by scientific evidence but was included on the label with the intention to get Plan B’s over-the-counter status approved.

As such, the FDA revised the informational leaflets in Plan B’s packaging to reflect that it doesn’t work after fertilization, the agency said.

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion in June, sparking a wave of concerns about continued access to contraception and emergency contraception. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said the landmark high court rulings that established gay rights and contraception rights must be reconsidered for the reason that federal right to abortion had been revoked.

At the very least eight states immediately banned all types of abortion, including medical abortions using a pill, inside hours of the high court’s decision.

The FDA said since Plan B prevents pregnancy by acting on ovulation, “well before implantation,” it doesn’t cause abortions.

The agency recommends that buyers talk with their doctors about emergency contraceptives so that they understand “the importance of using these products as intended.”

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