The American Medical Association’s (AMA) House of Delegates passed a measure in support of the the availability of over-the-counter emergency contraceptives. The resolution acknowledges the fact that many women do not have access to physicians who can prescribe emergency contraception (such as Preven and Plan B) within the 72 hours required for the method to work. Pro-choice activists hailed the decision as a major breakthrough in the struggle to improve women’s access to reproductive health care options. Under the resolution, the AMA will call for health care professionals to “play a more active role in providing education about access to emergency contraception by discussing it as part of routine family planning and contraceptive counseling.” It also directs the FDA to take action by considering any applications by manufacturers of emergency contraceptives for over-the-counter use.
An AMA resolution to ensure access to comprehensive reproductive health care despite hospital mergers and acquisitions also passed yesterday. The measure is a substantial pro-choice victory, as reproductive services are often lost for women when mergers make a religious hospital the only provider in a region. The AMA also passed a resolution today opposing sexual orientation “conversion” or “reparative” therapy that assumes “homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her sexual orientation.” “Conversion” therapy is often conducted by religiously affiliated organizations by persons with no medical or psychological training.