Birth_control_istock.jpgAs we’ve mentioned before, the Food and Drug Administration has spent the better part of a year stalling on allowing over-the-counter access to Plan B, a medication that reduces the chances of pregnancy if taken within 72 hours after intercourse. (We’ve written on the importance of wider access here.)

This Monday, on the eve before his Senate confirmation hearings to become the new head of the FDA, Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach made a surprise announcement that the FDA will once again consider allowing greater access to the emergency contraception pill.

The timing leaves some to doubt the sincerity of this turn around.

Cascadian Senator Patty Murray, along with Senator Clinton, has promised to place a hold on the nomination of Dr. von Eschenbach until the agency makes a final decision on widening access to Plan B. You can submit kudos to Senator Murray here–Forcing the FDA to decide on Plan B before the Senate confirmations could help prevent women’s health being used as a political tool.

Meanwhile, back in Washington State, nine women say that they were unable to get their prescriptions for Plan B filled at Olympia pharmacies, and have filed a complaint with the state Board of Pharmacy.

An Albertons Sav-On spokesperson said that they just don’t stock it, ”However, we will gladly order the Plan B emergency contraceptive for a customer, and we would typically have it for them in one or two days.” Hopefully they’ll get it within the 72 hour window needed for the pill to be effective?