A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel will meet next month to consider over-the-counter sales status for the emergency contraceptive (EC) Plan B. New York-based Barr Laboratories, Inc. - which recently acquired Women's Capital Corporation, the manufacturer of Plan B - will speak with FDA panelists on December 16. "The idea of over-the-counter (sales) is to increase education and increase access," Barr spokeswoman Carol Cox told Bloomberg News.
EC, a concentrated dose of birth control hormones, is up to 95 percent effective at preventing pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse, contraception failure, or rape. The Feminist Majority Foundation joins a host of other reproductive health and rights groups, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Medical Association, in advocating FDA approval for over-the-counter status. Women's Capital Corporation submitted a request to the FDA last April for over-the-counter status of EC.
The New York state Comptroller's office released a report last week estimating that increased access to EC could save the state $452 million annually in health care costs, according to Kaisernetwork.org. Using actual Medicaid and representative private health insurance data, state Comptroller Alan Hevesi found nearly 60 percent of pregnancies in New York in 2000 were unintended, with the majority resulting in abortion. "Easy access to emergency contraception is a win for everyone. Women avoid pregnancies and abortions they don't want. And rapidly rising Medicaid costs will be cut by $254 million a year, saving money for the State and local governments. In addition, private insurers would save nearly $200 million," Hevesi said, according to his office's press release. Still, only 54 percent of pharmacies statewide carry EC. Among the report's recommendations are: permission for pharmacists to dispense EC under advance and/or phone prescriptions; support for FDA approval of over-the-counter EC status, and $10 million a year for five years to expand public education and awareness of EC.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
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. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .