FDA Rejects Over-the-Counter Status for Emergency Contraception
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last night announced that it was rejecting over-the-counter status for emergency contraception. This decision flies in the face of the FDA’s own expert advisory committees, which recommended 23-4 to approve over-the-counter status for the emergency contraceptive Plan B. The FDA had been under intense pressure from right-wing groups and anti-reproductive rights members of Congress to reject approval.
“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 FDA sent a “Not Approvable” letter to Barr Laboratories, the distributors of Plan B, that gave two options for possible approval in the future. Either Barr could show that Plan B could be used safely by young women under the age of 16, or Barr could allow for the marketing of Plan B as a prescription-only drug for women under the age of 16 and a nonprescription drug for women 16 years and older, according to Barr.
“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 leads a national drive on college campuses to increase the availability of EC for young women.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .