DOJ Appeals Court Decision to Broaden Access to Emergency Contraception

Politics Trumps Science and Women's Health Suffers

May 02, 2013, 09:01 ET from Reproductive Health Technologies Project

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Statement by Susannah Baruch, Interim President & CEO of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, on the Department of Justice's appeal of Judge Korman's ruling directing the FDA to approve over-the-counter access to emergency contraception for all women within 30 days.

"We are profoundly disappointed.  This appeal takes away the promise of all women having timely access to emergency contraception. 

"It is especially troubling in light of the Food and Drug Administration's move yesterday to continue age restrictions and ID requirements, despite a court order to make emergency contraception accessible for women of all ages.

"Both announcements, particularly in tandem, highlight the Administration's corner-cutting on women's health.  Complying with the thorough reasoning and clear directive of the court order would have been a huge step forward.  Instead, we are left wondering how many more years we will have to wait for science to prevail.

"For years, medical experts, including scientists at the Food & Drug Administration, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have agreed that emergency contraception is safe for over-the-counter use by women of all ages and should be on store shelves.  Without requiring women to prove their age; without the public embarrassment that can come from being "carded" by a clerk and without putting women who don't have identification -- whether because they are pre-driver's license or because they are immigrants, or because they simply forgot to bring their ID when they left the house in a rush -- in a continued race against the clock.

"[The Administration is under a court order to fix the mistakes they have made in the past. Instead they are taking the path of least resistance, a half-solution to a real problem.]

"Today it is clear that the only thing stronger than the scientific evidence supporting the removal of the point of sale restrictions on emergency contraception is political interference with robust agency decision-making.  Judge Korman meticulously documented both in his April 5th ruling.

"It's a sad day for women's health when politics prevails.

"We will continue to fight for full access to emergency contraception for every woman – without restrictions, when and where she needs it."

For more information about emergency contraception, please visit RHTP's press room here.

SOURCE Reproductive Health Technologies Project