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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

May-06-04

Feminist Majority Foundation Expresses Outrage over FDA Decision to Reject Over-the-Counter Status for Emergency Contraception

Arlington, VA – The Feminist Majority Foundation today expressed its outrage that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave in to right-wing pressure and decided to reject over-the-counter status for the emergency contraceptive Plan B. In making this decision, the FDA ignored the advice of its own expert advisory panels, which voted 23-4 to recommend approval over-the-counter status for EC.

“The FDA, in rejecting its own expert advisory panels, is allowing right-wing politics to trump science at the expense of women’s health,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “In ignoring the more than one million women and men who rallied in support of reproductive rights at the March for Women’s Lives and the hundreds of women’s organizations that support over-the-counter emergency contraception, the FDA shows also contempt for public demand.”

The scientific evidence is clear: emergency contraception is safer than aspirin, meets all of the FDA's requirements for over-the-counter status, and is up to 95 percent effective if used within the first 24 hours after unprotected sex, birth control failure, or sexual assault. EC has the potential to prevent up to 800,000 abortions in the United States annually.

“Emergency contraception is the moral property of women,” said Dr. Beth Jordan, MD, medical director of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “To bow to political pressure and withhold approval for over-the-counter status for EC will result in harming young women.”

The Feminist Majority Foundation’s Choices Campus Leadership Program, the largest pro-choice campus program in the nation, leads a national drive on college campuses to increase the availability of EC for young women. For more information on FMF’s EC campaign, visit www.OverTheCounterEC.org.

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