The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced yesterday that it will not appeal a court order directing the FDA to make emergency contraception available over-the-counter to women as young as 17. Edward Korman, a New York District Court Judge, ruled in March that the FDA must reconsider its 2006 ruling that allowed emergency contraception, also known as Plan B, to be sold without a prescription to women 18 and older (see PDF).
In a statement, the FDA stated "In accordance with the court's order, and consistent with the scientific findings made in 2005 by the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, FDA notified the manufacturer of Plan B informing the company that it may….market Plan B without a prescription to women 17 years of age and older."
Emergency contraception is effective up to five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex, birth control failure, or rape, but it is most effective (95 percent) if taken within 24 hours. Because of the time-sensitive nature of EC, over-the-counter access is crucial to its effective use.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 3/24/09; Food and Drug Administration Press Release 4/22/09
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SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
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