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Women’s Health Advocates Tell the FDA to End Unnecessary Age Restrictions on Emergency Contraception

On the one-year anniversary of Tummino v. von Eschenbach,
reproductive health remains political football

 
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 23, 2010

Contact: Annie Suttle
434-249-9817          

Statement by Kirsten Moore, President & CEO of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, on the one-year anniversary of Tummino v. von Eschenbach, the court decision finding that the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) over-the-counter approval process for Plan B® emergency contraception “departed in significant ways from the agency's normal procedures:”  

"In his inaugural address, President Obama declared his administration would restore science to its rightful place. And throughout his campaign he promised to champion reproductive health. On both issues, America's women are still waiting.

"In the shadow of the historic vote on health care reform were significant compromises for reproductive health. It’s time for this administration to fulfill its commitments to both scientific integrity and reproductive health care. While restoring access for a full range of options may take years, one step that can be taken immediately is for the FDA to follow the court order and reconsider the scientific evidence on making emergency contraception available without a prescription for consumers of all ages.

"The FDA is hiding behind procedural delays. It can—and should—respect its own scientists’ recommendations and lift the age restrictions on over-the-counter emergency contraception. Things don’t always work out as planned. A woman is best served by simple, over-the-counter access to emergency contraception so she can prevent unintended pregnancy. Why would we hide this important back up birth control method behind a pharmacy counter?"

Statement by Susan Wood, Associate Professor at the School of Public Health and Health Services at George Washington University, board member of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, on the one -year anniversary of Tummino v. von Eschenbach. Dr. Wood was formerly the FDA Assistant Commissioner for Women’s Health and resigned from the FDA in 2005 over the agency’s continued delay in approving emergency over-the-counter contraception:  

"If the FDA is to firmly establish its renewed credibility and the trust of the country, it must make good on its pledge to restore scientific integrity to its policies. That means acting immediately to remove the unscientific restrictions on over-the-counter access to emergency contraception, including age restrictions and keeping it behind-the-counter."

BACKGROUND: Last year, a U.S. federal District Court ordered the FDA to immediately make Plan B available over-the-counter to 17 year olds and to reconsider making emergency contraception available without a prescription for consumers of all ages, citing the overwhelming consensus among scientists at the FDA in support of the switch without restrictions. The FDA complied with the first component of the order, but a year later women are still waiting for the FDA to act on the second part. As a result, advocates and activists across the country are speaking out this week. They are contacting FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg and officials at the White House and telling them that it is time for FDA to comply with the court’s decision and act now so that every woman who needs emergency contraception can get it without embarrassment or delay.

Emergency contraception is a safe, effective back-up method of birth control that can prevent pregnancy in the first few days after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. Current emergency contraceptive products on the market are Plan B® One-Step and a Plan B generic, Next Choice®. 

Click here more information about emergency contraception and Tummino v. von Eschenbach.

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Kirsten Moore, President & CEO, Reproductive Health Technologies Project, and Susan Wood, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the School of Public Health and Health Services, George Washington University are available for interview upon request.

 

 

 
 
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