The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Friday that it has granted a request from Plan B makers to update the presentation of information about the drug.
In addition to several changes, the agency also stipulated that Plan B does not cause abortions.
“Plan B One-Step prevents pregnancy by acting on ovulation, which occurs long before implantation. There is no evidence that the drug affects implantation or maintaining a pregnancy after implantation, so it does not terminate a pregnancy,” the FDA said.
Levonorgestrel, better known by the brand name Plan B One-Step or colloquially as the morning after pill, is an over-the-counter medication that is used to prevent the chance of pregnancy following unprotected sex, or when contraceptive methods failed or were not used.
Plan B prevents pregnancies by temporarily delaying the release of an egg from an ovary and thus preventing an egg from being fertilized by sperm. The drug works best when taken within three days of unprotected sex. The manufacturer points out that the earlier it is taken, it works better.
The pill won’t work if someone is already pregnant and won’t end a pregnancy.
The FDA also moved the explanation of how the pill works the next morning from the drug fact label to the consumer information accompanying the product and removed formulations from the drug’s description of action that, according to the agency, were “not supported by scientific evidence.” In particular, the wording that referred to Plan B could have influenced the processes that took place after ovulation.
“The evidence also supports the conclusion that there is no direct effect on postovulatory processes such as fertilization or implantation. Accordingly, FDA updated the mechanism of action information in the consumer information leaflet and also removed references to the mechanisms that were not supported by the best available scientific evidence (i.e. effects on fertilization and implantation),” the agency said.
After the Supreme Court sentenced Roe v. Wade earlier this year, reproductive rights activists feared that some state lawmakers could rely on contraception, as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggested in his concurring opinion.
Some state politicians have expressed their wish to possibly block access to Plan B. Matthew DePerno, the Republican candidate for Michigan attorney general, received backlash after a recording was obtained in which he compared Plan B to fentanyl and further said it should be banned.
In the recording from Heartland Signal, a progressive news site, DePerno appeared to know what Plan B is, although he later said in an interview that the conversation was taken out of context.
“Life begins at conception, and is the Plan B pill used as a contraceptive at this stage, or is it used to end a pregnancy? “DePerno later asked Mlive.com. “That’s the kind of conversation we had. I think that is a difficult question to answer.”
The White House condemned DePerno’s initial comment. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called it “another extreme and backward proposal by Republican officials that will deprive women of their rights.”
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) was also heard in a recording earlier this year discussing the possibility of a contraceptive ban and said it depends on “where lawmakers are.” When asked about the recording during a debate with Democratic Republic of Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, he said he did not want to enforce new laws on abortion or birth control.