FDA Delays Approval of Over-the-Counter Emergency Contraception
The Food and Drug Administration announced on Friday that it would delay its decision on over-the-counter status for the emergency contraceptive Plan B. The deadline on the decision was extended 90 days from the original date of February 20. The FDA says that it needs more time to evaluate the use of Plan B among teenagers.
The decision to delay approval of emergency contraception (EC) over the counter has been seen by many women's health advocates as politically motivated. Right-wing groups and members of Congress have been fighting the drive for over-the-counter EC. A group of 49 members of Congress sent a letter to President Bush urging him to intervene, claiming that making EC more accessible could lead to increased sexual behavior and sexually transmitted infections among teenagers, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
"It appears that the FDA is taking the advice of special interests over an expert, scientific panel that has said Plan B is safe and effective," Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) told the Washington Post "They're letting politics trump science."
Two expert advisory panels convened by the FDA recommended 23-4 to allow Plan B to be sold over the counter in a December meeting. EC 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. EC has the potential to prevent 800,000 abortions in the United States annually.
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. . . .