Press Release: FOR IMMEDIATE
August 24, 2006
Feminists Respond to
Morning-After Pill Decision with Local Picket and Legal Action
The Food and Drug Administration has announced its plans to ease the
restrictions on the Morning-After Pill (brand name Plan B) for women 18
and older. Feminists with the Morning-After Pill Conspiracy are
outraged by the restrictions placed on the drug, and vow to seek full
over-the-counter access with both legal pressure and a picket at the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services office in NYC today at
"This decision is only a partial victory. It's imperative for feminists
to oppose this arbitrary age restriction," said Annie Tummino, lead
plaintiff in the lawsuit, Tummino vs Von Eschenbach, that charges the
FDA with discriminating against women by holding Plan B to a different
standard than it does other drugs. "Our lawsuit will move forward and
challenge this age restriction in court, while feminists continue to
mobilize in the streets."
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
"This move effectively makes Plan B behind-the-counter. We will have to
show a pharmacist an ID in order to get birth control that is perfectly
safe for women of all ages." said Erin Mahoney, another plaintiff in
the suit and founding chair of the Women's Liberation Birth Control
Project, a NYC-based feminist organization. "The restriction is
unnecessary, and frankly, it's sexist."
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 birth control might increase the likelihood that teenagers
will have unprotected sex. If the FDA is really so concerned about safe
sex, it should push men to wear condoms, not punish women by
withholding birth control.
This is not a decision for over-the-counter, this decision traps the
MAP behind the counter requiring that women be carded for this safe,
effective form of 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 it
is most effective in preventing pregnancy. The FDA's
proposed age restriction is just another in a long list of tactics the
agency has used over the past three years to block women's access to
the Morning-After Pill and to toe the anti-birth control line of the
Bush Administration and other right-wing conservatives.
New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney says, "I am pleased that FDA has
finally made a decision that will significantly benefit women's health.
But I'm still concerned that politics is driving this issue. The
product has not changed in 3 years, but the political climate has. The
president can no longer afford to ignore the majority of Americans who
want access to safe birth control.
"I pledge to further my efforts to help women of all ages receive the
safest and most effective healthcare available and work to reduce the
arbitrary age restriction on the OTC use of Plan B that is not
supported by the science. I am deeply concerned that this
barrier, coupled with the ongoing problem of pharmacists imposing their
personal beliefs on consumers and refusing to fill legal prescriptions,
will threaten women's access to birth control."