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.
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. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .