FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 2/2/04
Kelly Mangan Stephanie Seguin Jenny Brown
Phone: (352) 377-2301 Phone: (352) 380-9934 Phone: (352) 378-5655
Email: Email: Email:
Phone: (352) 377-9935
WOMEN PLEDGE TO BREAK LAW
BY GIVING FRIENDS THE MORNING-AFTER PILL
Who: The Morning-After Pill Conspiracy
What: Press conference/action to publicly give our Friends the Morning-After Pill
When: Feb. 15 (the Morning-After Valentine’s Day), at 11 a.m.
Where: The Civic Media Center, 1021 W University Ave
Today, over 300 women from around the country have sent Mark McClellan, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration a pledge that they will defy the prescription requirement for the Morning-After Pill (and the law) by giving a friend the pills on the day after Valentines Day.
Women all over the country routinely break the law by giving their friends the Morning-After Pill. Why is helping our friends illegal? Because this safe, easy-to-use form of contraception is still prescription-only. In more than 38 countries, women can walk into a store and get the Morning-After Pill without a prescription— yet women in THIS country have to jump through hoops to get it.
The Food and Drug Administration has a chance to change all this. Between now and Feb. 20, FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan will decide whether the Morning-After Pill will be made over the counter in the United States. Forty-nine conservatives in Congress are pressuring the White House to stop McClellan from making this backup birth control method more widely available in the U.S.
To show the FDA how important it is to change the status of the Morning-After Pill, feminists have signed a pledge to commit civil disobedience. On February 15, Susan B. Anthony's birthday, in the tradition of Margaret Sanger, who handed out birth control pills when it was illegal, and suffragists who fought for women's right to vote, we are breaking the law in order to change it. Over 300 from all over the country have pledged to give a friend the Morning-After Pill on Feb. 15, or anytime they need it. Among those who have signed is Kim Gandy, the president of the National Organization for Women and Patricia Ireland, former president.
The pledge, which has been sent to the FDA with hundreds of signatures, states: “Women all over the country are already breaking the law to evade an unjust law. Now we are proudly going public with our actions to make clear that we will continue to increase women’s access to the Morning-After Pill, illegally, if necessary.”
On the morning after Valentine’s Day (Feb. 15), women in Gainesville and New York City (and possibly elsewhere) will gather to speak to the press about our experiences, and to give friends the Morning-After Pill. In Gainesville, they are meeting at the Civic Media Center, 1021 W. University Ave. at 11 am.
On Dec. 16, two FDA advisory committees voted overwhelmingly (23-4) to recommend that the FDA change the MAP to over-the-counter status. More than 70 health groups, including the American Medical Association and the American College of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists, say MAP is safe for over-the-counter distribution. More than 60 U.S. newspapers have taken an editorial position saying that MAP should be available without a prescription.
MAP is a safe backup birth control method that can be taken up to 120 hours after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy, but it’s most effective within the first 24 hours after sex. MAP is not the same as RU-486, the so-called “French Abortion Pill” (If you are already pregnant, MAP will not work). The Morning-After Pill has been made inaccessible to women for decades by its prescription requirement. This means women have to get a doctor's appointment every time they need MAP— making it expensive and difficult (if not impossible) to obtain in time. Even requiring only a pharmacist’s prescription (behind-the-counter status) still poses serious obstacles to women’s access, and still places this reproductive decision in pharmacists’ hands.
MAP meets the FDA’s requirements for an over-the-counter drug. Allowing women to have over-the-counter access to the Morning-After Pill brings us one step closer to full reproductive freedom for all women. So we challenge FDA Commissioner McClellan to base his decision on science, instead of anti-woman politics. We say to the FDA: Take away the unfair barriers that drive up the cost and block timely access to MAP! Free up our access to the Morning-After Pill by making it available over-the-counter— and stop making us criminals!