The Morning-After Pill
Conspiracy




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Time Line

Blue – Morning-After Pill Conspiracy Coalition

Red – Food and Drug Administration

Black – Morning-After Pill News

Green – Tummino vs. von Eschenbach Lawsuit

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1991 – University of Florida Campus National Organization for Women (NOW), Gainesville Women's Health Center,  and Gainesville Women’s Liberation become aware of the Morning-After Pill (MAP) issue, due to accessibility problems at the UF infirmary.

July 28, 1999 – Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves Plan B as a prescription form of the Morning-After Pill. (previously, only Preven was available). Plan B is safer, and has less side-effects.

February 21, 2001 – The Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Medical Association, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, New England Journal of Medicine, and many other medical and feminist organizations file a citizen’s petition for over-the-counter (OTC) status for Plan B.  The FDA fails to respond until July 2006, when it is quietly denied.

April 16, 2003 - Women’s Capitol Corporation applies to the FDA to make the Morning-After Pill Plan B, over-the-counter. Decision deadline 2/28/05.

July 2003 - Members of Gainesville Area (FL) NOW work with members of New York State NOW Reproductive Rights Taskforce to co-host a workshop at the National NOW Conference in Washington DC, about the Morning-After Pill issue. The Workshop includes Consciousness Raising (CR), and results in a resolution proposing that NOW lead a national campaign to get the Morning-After Pill over-the-counter.

Fall 2003 - Morning-After Pill Resolution passes at NOW board meeting, sets official NOW policy on Morning-After Pill.

October 9, 2003 – Gainesville Area NOW develops a Morning-After Pill Questionnaire to use in experience-data gathering.

November 5, 2003 - Speak-Out demanding the Morning-After Pill over-the-counter is held at the “Free Speech Rock,” in downtown Gainesville, FL. Women speak out about their experiences needing the Morning-After Pill, trying to get it, and trying to get men to wear condoms.

November 5, 2003 – Simultaneous Speak-Out demanding Morning-After Pill over-the-counter is held at Union Square, NYC.

December 15, 2003 – Activists publish their first round of editorials in local and state newspapers demanding the Morning-After Pill be made over-the-counter.

December 16, 2003 - Members of the Morning-After Pill coalition testify at FDA hearings, and hold a Speak-Out and Press Conference. By the end of the day, panel members are referring to the coalition, and using our language. Packet of testimony is entered into FDA public record. The action and testimony receive national press-coverage, including CNN, National Public Radio, NBC Nightly News, the New York Times, and other major news outlets.

December 16, 2003 - FDA advisory panel votes 23-4 to recommend approval of over-the-counter status for the Morning-After Pill. Supporting panelists say: Safer than aspirin, Safest drug to come before the FDA ever. Opposing panelists say: Will lead to sexual promiscuity among young women, Women will not be able to understand the packaging.

January 2004 -  The idea of defying the prescription requirement and distributing the Morning-After Pill in public leads to the name of the coalition: “Morning-After Pill Conspiracy”.

January 2004 - Morning-After Pill Conspiracy develops a postcard demanding that the Morning-After Pill be afforded over-the-counter status, for individuals to sign and send to Acting Director of the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation, Steven Galson.

January 2004 - Morning-After Pill Conspiracy develops Civil Disobedience “Pledge to Give Your Friend the Morning-After Pill.” Pledge acknowledges the difficulties in obtaining the Morning-After Pill, and reiterates a woman’s likeliness to share the Morning-After Pill with a friend, regardless of the prescription requirement.

January 2004 – Gainesville Area NOW circulates postcards and Pledge at Florida NOW Conference, Clearwater FL. Hundreds of postcards are sent to the FDA.

January 2004 - Morning-After Pill Conspiracy develops and maintains a full database of Pledge signers, donors, and supporters, from which to organize, fundraise, and recruit.

January 21, 2004 - FDA’s Office for Drug Evaluation III concludes Plan B is safe for over-the-counter sale.

January 30, 2004Congressional Members, 75 from both parties, send a letter to Mark McClellan, FDA Commissioner, expressing support for the expert panel's recommendation to grant Plan B over-the-counter status.

February  15, 2004 - Morning-After Pill Conspiracy holds a coordinated Morning-After Valentine’s Speak-out and Civil Disobedience, in New York and Florida, where in the spirit of Margaret Sanger who was arrested for passing out information about birth-control when it was illegal, the Morning-After Pill is handed out for the first time, thereby publicly defying the legality of the prescription requirement.

February 18, 2004 – The FDA Commissioner sends a request to the Office for Drug Evaluation III asking about the possibility of a marketing plan that would limit the availability of Plan B over-the-counter, and asks for consideration of "the most appropriate ages that should be restricted from over-the-counter access."

February  2004 - Since an official decision is expected by late February 2005, Morning-After Pill Conspiracy faxes all Pledge signer’s names to FDA. Every subsequent 100 names have been faxed/mailed. The FDA scans them into their public online database of commentary, available on their web site.

February  2004 - FDA postpones decision for 90 days.

February  2004 - Morning-After Pill Conspiracy begins to work with California feminists.

February 26, 2004 - Barr Laboratories purchases the right to market all products of Women’s Capitol Corporation, including Plan B.

March 2004 - Mark B. McClellan resigns as FDA Commissioner. Lester M. Crawford is named as Acting Commissioner.

April 2004 - Morning-After Pill Conspiracy develops website, including the Pledge with online signing, press releases, action photos, editorials, and contacts. <www.MAPconspiracy.org>

April 22, 2004 - In response to the Commissioner’s request for reevaluation, FDA's Office of Drug Evaluation III issues its review recommending Plan B for over-the-counter sale, without age restriction. (Clarification: The FDA has several “Offices” of Drug Evaluation which answer to the “Center” for Drug Evaluation. The Offices are divided based on what type of drug is involved.)

April 25, 2004 - Morning-After Pill Conspiracy holds a Speak-out and Civil Disobedience at the March for Women’s Lives, Washington DC, where the Morning-After Pill is thrown to the crowd of supporters, again defying prescription requirement. Feminist doctors from the Access Project NYC write prescriptions with 12 refills to any woman who wants one. A spokesperson from the NOW New York State Reproductive Rights Taskforce, addresses the crowd from the national stage, thus reaching 1 million people!

May 2004 - Preven discontinued.

May 5, 2004 - Dr. Steven Galson, Acting Director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research rejects the recommendations of the joint advisory committee, and his own Office of Drug Evaluation III,  and denies over-the-counter status, "citing a lack of adequate data regarding safe use among younger adolescents."

May 17, 2004 - Several members of Congress ask the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the FDA’s actions. Representative Carolyn Maloney (NY) introduces the Science Over Politics Act, which requires the FDA Commissioner to review the decision on Plan B within 30 days and affirm 1) that his decision was not politically influenced, 2) that it was based on sound science, and 3) that it conformed to FDA precedent and procedures.

July 22, 2004 - At the FDA’s suggestion, Barr Laboratories reapplies with a proposal for separate packaging selling the Morning-After Pill over-the-counter to women 16 and older. The FDA is to make its decision by January 21, 2005.

Fall 2004 - Gainesville Area NOW uses the Morning-After Pill issue in their “Get Women Out to Vote” campaign, discussing the Morning-After Pill with voters while canvassing.

January 7, 2005 - With the January 21st deadline looming, the Morning-After Pill Conspiracy converges on the steps of the FDA and holds a Press Conference and Sit-In. Nine women block the entrance to the building, while a large group of protestors rally around them. The participants demand a meeting with Steven Galson, FDA Director of the Center for Drug Evaluation, and demand that he put the Morning-After Pill over-the-counter immediately. The 9 women are arrested. The sit-in is covered by the Washington Post, Fox News, CBS, and numerous other media outlets.

January 21, 2005 – A lawsuit is brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of 9 leaders of Morning-After Pill Conspiracy, The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, against the FDA Director citing non-approval was based on sexual discrimination.

February 2005 - Crawford nominated as permanent FDA Commissioner by President Bush

February 2005 - Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (NY) is denied an opportunity to speak or submit testimony at a public hearing held by the Justice Department that was called to gather public comment on its National Protocol for Sexual Assault. The Morning-After Pill is subsequently excluded from the National Protocol.

Spring 2005 – Morning-After Pill Conspiracy again urges its supporters to call the FDA in person to express their opinion.

March 23, 2005 – All charges against the 9 arrested for blocking access to the FDA are dropped. The judge says “This is what America is all about.”

April 2005 -  New York State NOW Reproductive Rights Task Force changes its name to Women’s Liberation Birth-Control Project, a part of the Social Wage Committee of Redstockings Allies and Veterans.

April 2005 – Gainesville Women’s Liberation develops the “Feminist Pharmacy,” a Speak-Out and Civil Disobedience on the University of Florida campus, handing out the Morning-After Pill to any woman who wants it.

April 6, 2005 - Senators Patty Murray (WA) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY) put a hold on Crawford’s confirmation as FDA Commissioner until a decision is made regarding the Morning-After Pill’s status.

April 14, 2005Representatives Steve Israel (NY) and Carolyn Maloney (NY) and 118 co-sponsors call for passage of the Access to Legal Pharmaceuticals Act (ALPhA), which would require pharmacies to fill all prescriptions without delay or harassment, even if an individual pharmacist refuses to do it.

April 19, 2005 - Canada's National Health Agency approves Morning-After Pill for sale without a prescription.

May 15, 2005 - News reports surface stating that David Hager, a controversial member of the FDA’s Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee, and one of the dissenting voters on the advisory panel, was asked by a “ranking FDA official” to author an unprecedented minority opinion opposing FDA approval of over-the-counter access for Plan B  - after the advisory panel voted overwhelmingly to support the application. This is officially denied, but Hager is filmed at a Christian gathering crediting God with using the supposedly scientific argument in his report to block the drug on moral grounds.

July 3, 2005 - Morning-After Pill Conspiracy co-hosts a Morning-After Pill workshop at the National NOW Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. A resolution passes for NOW to work for over-the-counter status not behind-the-counter, and to do a demonstration in front of the department of Health and Human Services in Washington DC.

July 2005 - Morning-After Pill Conspiracy begins to work with Atlanta feminists.

July 15, 2005 - Health & Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, whose office oversees the FDA,  assures Senators Clinton and Murray that a decision will be made by September 1, 2005. The Senate hold is lifted, and Crawford is confirmed.

July 2005 -  Governor Romney of Massachusetts and Governor Pataki of NY each veto state bills that would have put the Morning-After Pill “behind-the-counter” by pharmacist prescription. Pataki argued “it did not include any provisions that would prevent minors from having access to the drug” while Romney stated it “would change the laws of the Commonwealth as they relate to abortion.” The Massachusetts veto was overrode by the state legislature in September, 2005.

August 20, 2005 - Utah NOW Young Feminist Task Force and Campus Action Network joins the Morning-After Pill Conspiracy Coalition.

August 26, 2005 - The FDA postpones it decision on the Morning-After Pill to allow for “Public Comment.” Comment deadline is November 1, 2005, but no decision deadline date is cited. The age-limit is summarily raised to 17.

August 2005 - The FDA calls for three forums to hear public comment in Boston, Miami, and Phoenix.

August 30, 2005 - NOW’s Day of Action on the Morning-After Pill - National NOW holds a demonstration and press conference at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington DC. Chapters hold solidarity demonstrations all over the country.

August 2005 - The Morning-After Pill Conspiracy develops the “Feminist Phone-Booth” where supporters are handed cell-phones to make immediate calls to the FDA.

August  2005 - The Women’s Liberation Birth-Control Project NYC holds a Press Conference and Pill-Passing at the Department of Health and Human Services in New York City.

August 31, 2005 - FDA Director of Women’s Health, Dr. Susan Wood resigns in protest over delays in Morning-After Pill decision.

September 1, 2005 - The American Academy of Pediatrics publishes a statement in support of making the Morning-After Pill available over-the-counter to teens and young adults.

September 2005 - Morning-After Pill Conspiracy begins to work with Washington DC feminists.

September 13, 2005 - The FDA announces that Dr. Norris Alderson, of the Center for Veterinary Medicine, is appointed Acting Director to the Office of Women’s Health. Three days later, the FDA announces Dr. Theresa Toigo, Director of the Office of Special Health Issues, as the real Acting Director of the Office of Women’s Health, and denies that Dr. Alderson’s appointment ever happened.

September 23, 2005 - FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford resigns, citing stress from Morning-After Pill controversy as one of the reasons. Andrew C. von Eschenbach is named Acting Commissioner.

September 27, 2005 – The FDA announces that the “Public Comment” forums are canceled.

October 7, 2005 - Dr. Frank Davidoff, of the FDA's Nonprescription Drug Advisory Committee, resigns to protest the delayed decision on Plan B.

October 12, 2005 – The Government Accountability Office (GAO) releases its preliminary report, accusing the FDA of political delaying tactics and “unusual” practices.

November 1, 2005 - Most recent postponement date passes with no decision. The FDA has received more than 47,000 comments about Morning-After Pill.

November 2005 - Morning-After Pill Conspiracy sets up “Principles and Membership Agreement” for groups to want to join the Morning-After Pill Conspiracy Coalition.

November 3, 2005 - Representatives Carolyn Maloney (NY), Christopher Shays (CT), Jay Inslee (WA), and Joseph Crowley (NY) introduce "Plan B for Plan B Act of 2005," which would require the FDA to either approve or deny over-the-counter status for Plan B, and would make Morning-After Pill behind the counter until the FDA decision is final. #HR4229.

November 21, 2005 – Kathleen Uhl is named as Director of FDA’s Office of Women’s Health.

December 2005 - Morning-After Pill Conspiracy begins to work with Brooklyn-Queens feminists.

December 1, 2005 - Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager asks her Governor for permission to sue the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for delaying a decision on whether to make the Morning-After Pill available without a prescription.

December 8, 2005 – Canadian pharmacists are no longer requiring an invasive questionnaire prior to dispensing the Morning-After Pill.

December 21, 2005 – Federal Judge Edward Korman rules against the government’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit Tummino vs. von Eschenbach.

January 21, 2006 – Florida members of the Morning-After Pill Conspiracy present a workshop at Florida State NOW Conference: “How Using Radical Feminist Tools to Build a Grassroots Campaign Can Have an Effect at the National Level.”

 

January 30, 2006 – New Morning Foundation, a South Carolina feminist reproductive-rights group, joins the Morning-After Pill Conspiracy.

March 4, 2006 – Wal-Mart announces it will carry the Morning-After Pill in its pharmacies after the State of Massachusetts successfully sues them.

March 8, 2006 – Judge Korman rules that the FDA must comply with the disclosure process and may be deposed in the lawsuit Tummino vs. von Eschenbach.

March 15, 2006 – State of Wisconsin asks to added as co-plaintiff in lawsuit Tummino vs. von Eschenbach. Request subsequently denied.

March 31, 2006 – Members of the Women’s Liberation Birth-Control Project NYC meet with the office of Representative Carolyn Maloney (NY) to discuss HR4229.

April 2006 – The Center for Reproductive Rights, as a litigant in Tummino vs. von Eschenbach, starts taking depositions from high-level FDA officials in order to uncover information on Plan B decision-making process. Former Commissioners Lester Crawford and Marc McClellan, Director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Steven Galson, and Deputy Commissioner Janet Woodcock are all deposed.

April 8, 2006 – Annie Tummino of Women’s Liberation Birth-Control Project NYC speaks as panelist at Abortion Rights Conference at Hampshire College. Co-panelists: Judith A.M. Scully, and Destiny Lopez.

April 25, 2006 – Gainesville Women’s Liberation holds Speak Out on the University of Florida campus to discuss Abortion, Birth-Control, and the Morning-After Pill.

April 28, 2006 – Former FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford fails to show up for court-ordered deposition in Tummino vs. von Eschenbach lawsuit. Crawford sites a possible conflict from another investigation.

May 24, 2006 – Lester Crawford is deposed as part of Tummino vs. von Eschenbach lawsuit.

June 22, 2006 – A Panel Discussion is held at New York University, where legal, medical, and feminist experts discuss the battle to make the Morning-After Pill over-the-counter in the United States. Speakers include: Simon Heller, Attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights and Lead Counsel in Tummino v. von Eschenbach; Carol Giardina, Women's Liberation Movement Pioneer and Queens College Professor; Dr. James Trussell, Professor at Princeton University, FDA Advisory Committee Member, and founder of www.not-2-late.com; Annie Tummino, Lead Plaintiff and Chair of the Women's Liberation Birth Control Project. The Panel is sponsored by the Women's Liberation Birth Control Project, The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Redstockings Allies and Veterans, The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, and NYU Law Students for Choice.

July 2006 - Morning-After Pill Conspiracy Coalition develops Statement of “Why Women Can’t Wait” for Reproductive Freedom. Calls for individuals and organizations to join in support of statement.

July 20, 2006 – Morning-After Pill Conspiracy Coalition holds Caucus meeting at NOW National Conference in Albany, NY.

July 29, 2006 – The FDA sends an unexpected letter to Duramed Research Inc, a subsidiary of Barr Laboratories, stating their willingness to engage in discussions that could lead to over-the-counter sales of the Morning-After Pill, but only to women 18 years and older. Women under the age of 18 would still need a doctor’s prescription.

August 1, 2006 – Andrew C. von Eschenbach’s confirmation hearings begin in Senate Committee. Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY)  and Patty Murray (WA) confirm their determination to keep a hold on the confirmation until a Plan B decision is made.

August 3, 2006 - The Center for Reproductive Rights releases deposition transcripts in its lawsuit against the FDA, Tummino vs. von Eschenbach. The depositions indicate that the Bush Administration sought to unduly influence the agency during the Plan B application review process. Senior FDA scientist Dr. Florence Houn, testified in July that she was told by Dr. Janet Woodcock, then acting deputy commissioner of the FDA, of the need to appease the "administration's constituents" by rejecting over-the-counter status for women of all ages and then approving it down the road with an age restriction. This testimony directly contradicts the testimony of Dr. Woodcock, who earlier testified that she was not aware of any political pressure. Dr. Curtis Rosebraugh and Dr. Donna Griebel, also testified to the unusual involvement from senior FDA management at the earliest stages of the Plan B review process.

August 3, 2006 - Morning-After Pill Conspiracy begins to work with Buffalo, NY and Amherst, MA feminists.

 

August 8, 2006 – Barr Labs meets with the FDA to finalize requirements to making the Morning-After Pill available behind-the-counter, in other words, available to women, 18 and older, from a licensed pharmacist, during pharmacy hours.


August 24, 2006 - FDA approves the Morning-After Pill  for behind-the-counter access to women 18 and older. Younger women will still need a doctor's prescription to get it.


September 25, 2006 - Annie Tummino speaks to a New York City High School class about birth-control, the Morning-After Pill, and the upcoming rally.

September 27, 2006 - A
Panel Discussion about the FDA's Morning-After Pill decision is hosted by Gainesville Area NOW, along with Gainesville Women's Liberation, University of Campus NOW, National Lawyers Guild, and the Civic Media Center. On the panel: Julie Johnson, UF Pharmacist and member of the FDA  Expert Advisory Committee that overhwlemingly approved Plan B for full over-the-counter use; Stephanie Seguin and Jenny Brown, co-plaintiffs in the Tummino vs. von Eschenbach lawsuit; and Andrea Costello, attorney in the lawsuit.

October 31, 2006 -
Jane Magazine has large spread on Birth-Control and includes a profile of the Morning-After Pill Conspiracy's. Annie Tummino, Chair of the Women's Liberation Birth-Control Project, is quoted.

November 4, 2006
- Morning-After Pill Conspiracy holds rally at Union Square Park, New York City.  The Rally
includes speak-outs, street theatre, and free condom distribution.

November 8, 2006
- Judge Pohorelsky allows Tummino vs. von Eschenbach to subpeona White House Documents and Depose White House Officials.




We'll keep you posted as news arises.