Seventeen-year-olds will be able to buy the "morning-after" emergency contraceptive without a doctor's prescription, a decision that conservatives denounced as a blow to parental supervision of teens but that women's groups said represents sound science.
Reversing a contentious policy of the Bush administration, the FDA said in a brief statement Wednesday it will not appeal a judge's order that overturns restrictions limiting over-the-counter sales of "Plan B" to women 18 and older.
Conservatives called the decision a blow to parental supervision of teens. But women's groups said the FDA's action was long overdue, since the agency's own medical reviewers initially had recommended that the contraceptive be made available without any age restrictions.
US District Judge Edward Korman ruled last month in a lawsuit filed in New York that Bush administration appointees let politics, not science, drive their decision to restrict over-the-counter access.