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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

December-16-03

FMF Medical Director Testifies in Support of Emergency Contraception's Over-the-Counter Availability

WASHINGTON, DC- The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) joined with the nation's leading medical and women's health organizations at a public hearing today urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make Plan B emergency contraception (EC) available over-the-counter.

Testifying on behalf of the Feminist Majority Foundation, Dr. Beth Jordan told the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee that "the scientific evidence and public health imperative propelling this request for EC is strong and undeniable. Access delayed is access denied. For the sake of women whose lives and futures are at stake, please make this decision on scientific merit, not politics."

The Feminist Majority Foundation leads a national drive on college campuses to increase the availability of EC. The Feminist Majority Foundation presented more than 30,000 petitions gathered in support of emergency contraception's over-the-counter access to the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. In addition to its grassroots organizing campaign, the FMF also presented results of its nationwide, random sample survey of campus health clinics which highlights the lack of availability and inaccessibility of emergency contraception on our nation's campuses.

"Our survey found that only 61% of college and university-based health clinics offer EC or prescriptions for EC and only 16% have weekend hours. Young women trying to avoid the risk of becoming pregnant after unprotected intercourse, contraceptive failure, or sexual assault should not have to face unnecessary barriers to emergency contraception," said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation.

Anti-reproductive rights politics is another obstacle threatening access to EC on US college and university campuses. In Virginia, despite ardent student protests, anti-choice legislators and office holders successfully campaigned to restrict dispensing emergency contraception pills at James Madison and George Mason Universities health centers- a move that only serves to increase the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions.

"Access to emergency contraception must not be dependent on right-wing politics, restrictive clinic hours, or the individual bravado of the clinic provider. We need to empower young women by making this safe, effective and easy to use product available over-the-counter and easily accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," said Dr. Jordan.

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