The Food and Drug Administration. said that drugstores could sell a pill that can stop pregnancy without a prescription to girls under 17. The Obama administration overruled the the F.D.A. and said the pill could not be sold to them.
It is the first time the head of the Department of Health and Human Services ever overruled the recommendation of the F.D.A.
The drug is controversial. It can prevent pregnancy for up to three days after intercourse.
Many people think some young girls are not able to make a judgment about the purpose of the pill. Another group believes it is safe and effective for teens to use the pill without going to a doctor.
Advocates for making the pill available said President Obama was giving in to conservatives. They believe he did not want the pill to become an issue in the 2012 presidential campaign.
“Plan B” is the name of the drug. The dispute over it reflects differences between pro-choice and pro-life groups. The drug has been studied by the F.D.A. for a number of years. The professionals in the field recommend its use. The political leadership continues to say it should only be available with a prescription.