EC Available OTC Soon; CRR to Subpoena EC White House Documents
The Reproductive Health Technologies Project announced on Monday that emergency contraception (EC) will be available behind pharmacy counters without a prescription for women 18 years and older as early as this week. Emergency contraception is effective up to five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex, birth control failure, or rape, but it is most effective if taken within 24 hours. Because of the time-sensitive nature of EC, over-the-counter access is crucial to its effective use.
Also on Monday, a US magistrate announced that the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) will be able to subpoena White House documents for its lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). CRR is suing the FDA for breaking its own regulations by involving politics in what should have been a scientific decision to make EC over-the-counter. The judge’s ruling also said that CRR will be able to depose former White House policy aide Jay Lefkowitz along with Dr. Sandra Kweder, deputy director of the FDA’s Office of New Drugs. The judge ruled that the FDA acted in "bad faith" in its decision-making process for making EC over-the-counter.
Said Nancy Northup, president of CRR, in a press release yesterday, "We are pleased that the court is not only allowing us to further explore seemingly inappropriate White House involvement in the FDA’s decision making... Our months of discovery have revealed that FDA scientists attempted to carry out a scientific approval process, but higher level officials made a mockery of that process, by ignoring the results and bowing to political pressures."
Media Resources: Reproductive Health Technologies Project 11/6/06; Center for Reproductive Rights 11/8/06; Annie Tummino, et al. v. Andrew C. von Eschenbach 11/6/06; Reuters 10/11/06
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. . . .