The Feminist Majority Foundation joined the National Organization for Women (NOW) and other women’s groups in protesting on Tuesday the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s decision to further delay approval of emergency contraception for over-the-counter sales. This marks the third time the FDA has delayed a decision, this time citing concerns about the safety of the drug for women under sixteen. Emergency contraception (EC) is safer than aspirin, meets all of the FDA’s requirements for over-the-counter status, and is up to 95 percent effective if used within the first 24 hours after unprotected sex, birth control failure, or sexual assault. Furthermore, the FDA’s own expert advisory panels recommended it be approved for over-the-counter status.
“This is just another in a long line of decisions that make women’s health secondary to right-wing politics. This administration is determined to turn the FDA into an arm of the Republican Party – carrying out the fondest desires of Bush allies who oppose women’s use of contraception,” said Kim Gandy, president of NOW. Feminist Majority Foundation medical director Beth Jordan said, “To bow to political pressure and delay approval for over-the-counter status for EC will result in harming young women.”
Also on Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union, along with several reproductive rights groups, asked the Department of Justice to release its records relating to the omission of EC in the department’s guidelines on treating sexual assault survivors. Kaiser Network reports that Louise Melling of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project said, “It is time for the Department of Justice to be accountable for refusing to do everything it can to protect sexual assault survivors from unintended pregnancy.”