Tell the FDA To Stop Stalling -- Women Need Over-the-Counter Emergency Contraception with NO Restrictions
What happened to the medical knowledge that emergency contraception (EC) could
safely and effectively help women avoid unwanted pregnancies and abortions?
Where is the concern for women's health and women's autonomy to make
NOW activists and others who support the health, safety and decision-making
authority of women in their childbearing years must DEMAND that the FDA follow
the medical and scientific advice of its committees and permit the sale of EC
without a prescription, without age restrictions, and OVER the counter
(not "behind the counter" where we must beg a reluctant clerk or pharmacist to
give it to us).
We must remind them one more time that their job is to promote and protect our
health and safety, not the political whims of religious bigots or their
patrons, be they the pharmaceutical industry or the politicians controlling the
White House and Congress.
Demand that the FDA release EC to the women of this country!
Emergency contraception (EC) - a strong dose of safe and legal birth control
pills - can protect women from coerced or unintended pregnancies. Studies
have proven EC's effectiveness in safely preventing unwanted pregnancies
(and therefore abortions) and have discounted the allegations that EC
somehow leads to promiscuity. According to a study published in January,
2005 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, giving women
packets of Plan B, a form of emergency contraception also known as the
'morning after pill,' did not lead to an increase in unprotected sex, an
increase in pregnancy rates or cause women to forgo regular contraception.
Yet opponents of EC, unable to stop its use altogether, have succeeded, for
the moment, in demanding limitations for young women under 17
-- the very age where violent, coerced or unprotected sexual encounters most
often occur and can have the greatest lifelong consequences.
The FDA has knuckled under to this pressure, stalling once again on their
promise to make a decision on EC's availability. Limiting access to birth
control and family planning is part of the anti-women agenda of the
right-wing officials and groups who oppose women's full access to health,
safety and family formation options. Limiting the availability of EC for
young women, and protecting pharmacists who refuse to sell contraceptives,
are overt steps toward outlawing personal autonomy and privacy - and indeed
outlawing contraception altogether.
"Plan B is safe, effective, easy to use, and could prevent thousands of
unwanted pregnancies," NOW President Kim Gandy said at an FDA hearing on
emergency contraception. "The women who will benefit most from the
availability of emergency contraception are rape victims, young women,
low-income women, women without health insurance and rural, isolated
women -- and any woman who is unable to quickly reach a sympathetic physician
to obtain a prescription. We urge the FDA to remember these often overlooked
women and decide quickly to make EC widely available."
Model comments will be available in the near future for activists to
register their own official comments about EC, but for now, please call the
Office of the Commissioner Lester Crawford at 301-827-2410 or send an email to register your objections.