As part of the Feminist Majority Foundation’s (FMF) campaign to increase access to emergency contraception (EC) and mifepristone (the early abortion pill) on college campuses nationwide, FMF hosted an online chat last week with FMF Director of Policy and Research Jennifer Jackman, Ph.D. and FMF Medical Director Beth Jordan, M.D. to discuss both types of medication and their implications for women’s health.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed both EC and mifepristone safe and effective, but many women are still unaware of the benefits of these medical breakthroughs and lack access to these drugs. During the chat, participants asked Drs. Jackman and Jordan to explain the different uses of EC and mifepristone and to elaborate on the importance of mainstreaming both of these drugs. In response to a question regarding over-the-counter availability of EC, Dr. Jordan stressed, “Women should have as many tools as possible to prevent unwanted pregnancy as early as possible”. Over the counter access for EC and contraception would improve accessibility for poor and young women. It would also help college women since so many health service facilities are closed on the weekend.”
Participants were also interested in the other potential uses of mifepristone as a treatment for serious illnesses and gynecological diseases. Dr. Jordan noted, however that “Because of anti-abortion forces, very few clinical trials have been conducted in the U.S. on non-abortion indications, such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, breast cancer, prostate cancer.” Jordan continued, “It’s even been difficult for basic science researchers to get mifepristone supplies.”
It has also been difficult for women to obtain mifepristone for abortion. Dr. Jackman highlighted the importance of taking action to ensure accessibility of medical abortion to women in need. Jackman urged participants to request mifepristone availability at their local health clinics. She also directed participants to join the Feminist Majority Foundation’s campaign to mainstream access to EC and mifepristone.
To find out how you can join our campaign, log on to www.PrescribeChoice.org.
For transcripts of the chat, visit Improving Women’s Health.