Women’s Liberation Birth Control Project       FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE— 8/22/05

 

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 DISTRIBUTE MORNING-AFTER PILL WITHOUT PRESCRIPTION

DEMAND OVER-THE-COUNTER ACCESS

 

What: Press Conference/Action

When: Tuesday, August 30th, 1pm

Where: 26 Federal Plaza, Jacob Javitz Federal Building. Sidewalk at main entrance on Broadway

 

After a two year delay, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said it will make a decision on over-the-counter status for the Morning-After Pill (MAP) by September 1st. The Women’s Liberation Birth Control Project will hold a protest outside the offices of Health and Human Services (HHS) because, as the agency that oversees the FDA, it is the job of HHS to make sure that decisions are made based on science, not anti-woman politics. Currently, the MAP—a safe and effective form of birth control—is available by prescription only.

 

On August 30th, women will speak-out about their experiences taking and trying to access the MAP. Afterwards, they will distribute packages of the pill to women in the crowd. In the spirit of feminist Margaret Sanger, who was arrested for disseminating information about birth control in the early 1900s, we are defying the law in order to change it.

 

The Center for Reproductive Rights will be available to answer questions 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 9 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.


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 behind-the-counter status for the MAP. 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.

 

We also oppose medically unnecessary age restrictions. We refuse to be carded for birth control or to allow ourselves to be divided from young women. If you are old enough to be pregnant, you are old enough to decide not to be pregnant. Women must have the right to control their bodies 24 hours a day, without having to beg a doctor or pharmacist for permission!

 


In April 2003 Barr Laboratories, manufacturers of Plan B, a brand of the MAP, filed their application with the FDA. See Reproductive Health and Technologies Project, www.rhtp.org/contraception/emergency/efforts.asp.

Arkansas, Mississippi and South Dakota have passed such legislation. The Reporter, vol. 37 #2, Summer 2005, p.26

The FDA has cited concerns about women under the age of 16 as the reason for their delay on the MAP application.


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