In a resounding win for reproductive and women’s rights advocates, the Food and Drug Administration’s Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory and Nonprescription Drugs Panels voted 23-4 to recommend over-the-counter status for Plan B, a brand of emergency contraception.
Testifying on behalf of the Feminist Majority Foundation, Dr. Beth Jordan told the FDA panels that “the scientific evidence and public health imperative propelling this request for EC is strong and undeniable. Access delayed is access denied. For the sake of women whose lives and futures are at stake, please make this decision on scientific merit, not politics.”
Using the drug within three days of unprotected sex can significantly reduce the chance of getting pregnant, and the sooner the drug is taken, the more effective it is. In addition, advocates for over-the-counter accessibility of EC argue that it is often difficult to find a doctor to write a prescription in time, especially on holidays and weekends.
Over-the-counter access to emergency contraception could prevent more than a million unplanned pregnancies and hundreds of thousands of abortions every year. The Feminist Majority Foundation leads a national drive on college campuses to increase the availability of EC. At today’s hearing, FMF presented more than 30,000 student signatures gathered in support of EC and the results of a survey that highlights the lack of availability and inaccessibility of EC on our nation’s campuses.