Women’s Liberation Birth Control Project FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE— 8/29/05
Cecilia Traini, Organizer, Women’s Liberation Birth Control Project, 917.859.9379
Annie Tummino, Lead Plaintiff of Tummino v. Crawford and Vice-Chair of the Birth Control Project, 917-842-5306
NYC WOMEN TO PROTEST FDA STALL ON MORNING-AFTER PILL,
WILL DISTRIBUTE PILLS WITHOUT PRESCRIPTION
If the FDA wants public opinion, they should ask the people this policy affects—women.
On August 30th at 1pm, the Women’s Liberation Birth Control Project will hold a Press Conference and Speak-Out in front of the Department of Health and Human Services (26 Federal Plaza/sidewalk at main entrance on Broadway) to demand that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) make the Morning-After Pill (MAP) available over-the-counter. Women will give testimony about their experiences taking and trying to access the MAP. Afterwards, in an act of civil disobedience, they will distribute packages of the pill to women in the crowd.
Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, will speak about the lawsuit Tummino V Crawford. The Center filed suit against FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn in January on behalf of nine women associated with the MAP Conspiracy and two organizations. The suit charges Crawford with ignoring scientific fact and holding the MAP to a different standard than other over-the-counter drugs—consequently, breaking the FDA's rules and regulations.
After two years of delay and a promise to make a decision by Sept 1st, the FDA has once again stalled on the application to make the MAP available without a prescription. FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford has finally admitted that the MAP is safe for over-the-counter sales—but only for women 17 and older. He claims that a period of public comment is needed to establish how this age restriction could be imposed.
“The FDA’s delay is an insult to women and another excuse to deny women access to a perfectly safe form of birth control,” said Annie Tummino, Vice-Chair of the Women’s Liberation Birth Control Project.
In 38 other countries, the MAP is available without a doctor’s prescription, but in the U.S. women have to jump through hoops to get it. Although women may take MAP up to 5 days after sex to prevent pregnancy, it is most effective within 24 hours. Trying to get to a doctor at night or on the weekend, taking time off from work or school, and paying for the doctor’s visit are all unnecessary obstacles.
"We reject any attempt to impose medically unnecessary age restrictions. If you are old enough to be pregnant, you are old enough to decide not to be pregnant," said Cecilia Traini, an organizer for the Women's Liberation Birth Control Project.
The group opposes behind-the-counter status for the MAP, which would happen as a result of an age limit. Behind-the-counter status gives pharmacists the power to dispense the MAP, forcing women to find a pharmacy that stocks MAP and a pharmacist willing to dispense it. Already, 13 states have introduced legislation that would allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense birth control. Women must have the right to control their bodies 24 hours a day, without having to beg a doctor or pharmacist for permission! ###