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.
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell as out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of two heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .
7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .