Request Filed for Over-the-Counter Emergency Contraception
Women's Capital Corporation, makers of the emergency contraceptive Plan B, submitted their request to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today to make Plan B available over the counter. The FDA is expected to make a decision in about 10 months, according to the Washington Post.
“The United States has the highest rate of unintended pregnancies in the industrialized world,” said Beth Jordan, MD, medical director of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “Since emergency contraception has the potential to prevent half of these pregnancies, the scientific imperative is clear: emergency contraception must be available over the counter.” Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy for up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, failed contraception, or rape. It is safer than aspirin, meets all of the FDA’s requirements for over the counter status, and is up to 95% effective if used within the first 24 hours. Emergency contraception has the potential to prevent 800,000 abortions in the United States annually.
Although emergency contraception is currently available with a prescription, many women face significant obstacles in obtaining it. Women at James Madison University in Virginia, for example, can no longer access emergency contraception at the campus health center, according to the Associated Press. The university’s board of visitors voted to stop dispensing emergency contraception after receiving a complaint from a state delegate.
“Emergency contraception is very time sensitive,” stated Dr. Jordan. “Women must be able to access emergency contraception immediately after unprotected sex. Emergency contraception’s unwarranted prescription status prevents women from doing so.”
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. . . .