Target: Obama administration and District Judge Edward Korman
Goal: Applaud decision to make emergency contraception available without restrictions
After a long battle over the “morning-after” pill and a drawn-out political comedy, it seems like the debate is nearing its end. The Obama Administration has committed to a plan that would make Plan B available without age restrictions on the shelves instead of behind the counter. This is a victory for choice and women’s health.
The battle over emergency contraception has spun out over ten years, having started in the early years of George W. Bush’s presidency. The Obama administration picked up the fight, and in December 2011 blocked the Food and Drug Administration’s plan to lift the age limit and point-of-sale restrictions of Plan B One-Step.
When this issue moved to the courts, they challenged the administration’s point of view and labeled it as purely political. After Federal Judge Edward Korman of the Eastern District of New York in April ruled to start selling “morning-after” pill without age restrictions, the FDA decided to lower these restrictions to age 15 instead of 17. This compromise did not satisfy Korman, who said last week that he would immediately order to sell the two-pill version of the drug. The judge commented that the government’s push to maintain age limits was “politically motivated, scientifically unjustified and contrary to agency precedent”, reports Politico.
On June 5, 2013, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan did not stay Korman’s ruling and permitted girls of any age to purchase generic versions of morning-after medicines without a prescription. The administration announced on June 10, 2013 that it would no longer seek an appeal if Judge Korman approves a compliance plan that the administration would soon submit.
This is a huge victory for all women in America. The barriers imposed on women in terms of emergency contraception were wrong and even discriminatory, because many poor women and those living in the country illegally often do not have IDs. Access to Plan B was forbidden to these women. Please sign below to thank the Obama administration and District Judge Edward Korman for their decisions.
Dear Mr. Obama and Mr. Korman,
Thank you for putting politics aside and focusing on women’s health. Emergency contraception does not endanger health in any way but it does prevent unwanted pregnancies. Choice is of most importance, and age restrictions not only hurt those young women who have to make difficult decisions without a trusted adult in sight, but also those who do not possess an ID to purchase the drug from a pharmacist. Making situation worse, some states have adopted “conscience clauses”, which gave pharmacists the right to refuse to fill prescriptions for Plan B and other emergency contraceptives without fear of losing their jobs. The decision to put drugs on shelves solves everybody’s problems: pharmacists who feel they are violating their personal or religious beliefs do not have to worry about consequences of their refusal to fill a prescription, and women can be sure that contraceptives are readily available and without a delay.
This decision deserves applause from everyone who cares about women’s health and wellbeing. Thank you for moving forward with the new drug application with proposed labeling that would permit sale of Plan B One-Step without a prescription and without age or point-of-sale restrictions. That is reproductive justice.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Lalvanova via Flickr