Senator Boxer: Plan B Victory
Wednesday, September 6, 2006
Last week we achieved a milestone victory for women’s health when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally approved the over-the-counter sale of emergency contraception (EC) nationwide to women 18 and older. Women across the United States will now be able to get EC from their pharmacies and health clinics when they need it.
EC, also known as the “morning-after pill” and distributed under the brand name “Plan B,” is a high dose of regular birth control pills that can reduce the rate of pregnancy by almost 90 percent when taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse. For years, waiting for a prescription has slowed down access to EC. Now, women can get EC over the counter when they need it – including women who have been raped.
For years, the FDA refused to allow EC over the counter, not because of its health risks, which are minimal, but because of pressure from the far right, including anti-choice extremists and politicians. We know, and a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association confirmed, that giving women access to emergency contraception had no effect on either their sexual activity or their use of routine contraceptives. And earlier this year, when the FDA rejected an application by Plan B to be sold over the counter despite overwhelming recommendations from its scientific staff that it approve the application, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) had confirmed that politics trumped science.
EC’s availability over the counter is one of the biggest victories for women’s health we have seen in years. This is a giant step forward for increased access and information for women and for reducing the number of unintended pregnancies. Please pass this message along to women you care about.
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer