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.
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. . . .