FDA Approves Single-Dose Plan B Emergency Contraceptive
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a single-pill version of the Plan B emergency contraceptive, which is currently available as a two-pill dose. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd announced yesterday (see PDF) that the new version, Plan B One-Step, will be available by the end of August.
Emergency contraception (EC), also known as Plan B, 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. Plan B does not terminate an existing pregnancy.
Kelli Conlin, president of the National Institute for Reproductive Health, applauded the release of Plan B One-Step. "It is critical that women have fast, easy access to this back up method of birth control. I applaud Plan B for continuing their commitment to women's reproductive health," she said in a press release.
The FDA also announced earlier this year 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. Women younger than 17 years old will still need a prescription to receive Plan B.
Media Resources: Teva Pharmaceuticals Press Release 7/13/09; National Institute for Reproductive Health Press Release 7/13/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 3/24/09, 4/23/09
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .