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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

August-26-05

Feminist Majority Foundation Expresses Outrage over FDA Stall Tactics on Over-the-Counter Status for Emergency Contraception

Arlington, VA – The Feminist Majority Foundation today expressed its outrage that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has delayed for the third time its decision on the emergency contraceptive Plan B.

This delay flies in the face of the deal between Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) and Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt that the decision would be made by September 1. The Senators had blocked the confirmation of Lester Crawford for FDA Commissioner until a deadline was set for approval of over-the-counter emergency contraception.

"The Bush Administration has shamelessly misled these two Senators," said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. "This was a fair and public deal. After two-and-a-half years of waiting, the Senators were only asking that a deadline be set for a decision on Plan B. These stall tactics are only harming women and increasing the need for abortions."

"Moreover, in announcing this delay on Women's Equality Day, the FDA adds insult to injury," Smeal continued. "This announcement is symbolic of the Bush Administration's constant rollback of women's rights, from reinstating the Global Gag Rule as Bush's first executive order to the pending nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court. This Administration continues to slam the door in the face of women’s progress."

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 cut in half the number of unintended pregnancies and to prevent hundreds of thousands of 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 delay 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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© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

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