August 1, 2006


Monday the Food and Drug Administration announced its plans to take
steps towards making the Morning-After Pill (brand name Plan B)
available without a prescription only for women 18 and older. This is
the first time in history that the Food and Drug Administration has
proposed the creation of a separate status for a non-prescription
drug, and it is testimony to the pressure being put on the FDA by
anti-birth control extremists in Congress and in the White House.

Annie Tummino, of the Morning-After Pill Conspiracy coalition, said
that the FDA is keeping the Morning-After Pill from women who need
it. Tummino is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit (Tummino v. von
Eschenbach) against the FDA charging the agency with applying a
sexist double-standard to the Morning-After Pill (MAP) that is does
not apply to other drugs. The lawsuit is seeking over-the-counter
access to the Morning-After Pill for all ages.

"If you're old enough to get pregnant, you're old enough to decide
that you don't want to be pregnant." Tummino said. "Putting an age
restriction on the Morning-After Pill creates serious obstacles to
all women's access and still places reproductive choices in someone
else's hands."

While the proposed age has quietly climbed from 16 to 18 in the past
two years, the FDA's excuse for the restriction remains the same:
access to the Morning-After Pill might increase the likelihood that
teenagers will have unprotected sex. But the FDA continues to ignore
evidence from a study released by the Journal of the American Medical
Association in January of 2005 which found that easier access to MAP
does not "compromise" young women's "contraceptive or sexual
behavior." If the FDA is really so concerned with safe sex, it
should push men to wear condoms, not punish women by withholding
birth control.

The MAP Conspiracy opposes any age restriction to the Morning-After
Pill because it effectively makes MAP a behind-the-counter (or
pharmacist-prescribed) drug, requiring that women show a pharmacist
their ID before getting this safe, effective contraceptive. Besides
the sexist insult of being carded for birth control, an age
restriction also means that women have to find pharmacies that stock
MAP and pharmacists willing to fill their prescriptions within the
first 24 hours after sex, when MAP is most effective in preventing
pregnancy. In contrast, full over-the-counter status would mean that
MAP would be found on the shelf next to medicines like aspirin and
could be sold in convenience stores and gas stations.

"The FDA's proposed age restriction is just another in a long list of
delay tactics the agency has used over the past three years," Tummino
said. "Feminists will continue to pressure the FDA until we get the
Morning-After Pill over-the-counter for all women."