President Bush appreciates the "exhaustive review" conducted by drug regulators before signing off on new access to the morning-after pill, a White House spokeswoman said Thursday.

Hours after the Food and Drug Administration approved over-the-counter sales for women 18 and older, spokeswoman Dana Perino said the president approves that the agency drew a line between adults and minors who still have to have a prescription.

"He appreciates that the FDA did an exhaustive review, that they recognized the critical distinction between minors and adults and the risks a drug like this could pose," she said.

The compromise clears the way for Bush's pick to head the FDA. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Patty Murray say they'll lift their objections to nominee Andrew von Eschenbach because of what they call "real progress" in access to emergency contraception.

"But this three-year effort to make one more reproductive health option available to American women is another reminder that we have to insist that policy decisions should be made on the basis of science, not ideology," Clinton wrote in a letter to her supporters.

Not everyone approves of the decision. Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., said the FDA's decision will harm women.

"The bottom line is that the FDA's decision is legally unfounded and hazardous to women's health. It continues the FDA's reckless and irresponsible pattern of applying a lower standard of care, and being hostage to special interest groups, when it comes to women's health," he said.