Plan B Emergency Contraception, two doses of combined oral contraceptive (birth control) pills, prevents pregnancy, primarily by preventing ovulation and fertilization. 23 out of 27 expert members of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel on Plan B recommended that the emergency contraceptive be made available without a prescription as a way of preventing unwanted pregnancies, since it works best at preventing fertilization when taken within 24 hours of sexual intercourse. It seemed sensible -- as we all know, doctors often don't make appointments within 24 hours, making over the counter availability a good way to prevent unwanted pregnancies, something that reasonable people on both sides of the political fence could agree is valuable.
But then unreasonable people intervened. After fundamentalist conservatives asserted that Plan B would lead to the spread of evil evil sexual promiscuity and pressured the Bush administration to stop its approval, higher political powers intervened and overruled scientific review, declaring that Plan B would NOT be made available. This is despite a study of more than two thousand women which conclusively finds that even when supplied an inventory of Plan B pills in the home, women do not engage in different sexual behavior than women who are required to go through pharmacists.
(Sources: Washington Post, January 5, 2004; Journal of the American Medical Association, January 5, 2004)
Even after the publication of major research findings demonstrating that the expert advisory panel was correct and the unreasonable fundamentalists were wrong, the political heads of the FDA have made no indication that they will change their position. The application to make Plan B available, Docket 2001P-0075, expires on January 20, 2005.
Unless action is taken in the next week, America will be left with this result:
Don't let the nutcases win. Take ACTION: Contact the Division of Dockets Management at the Food and Drug Administration and tell them to pay attention to science, to pay attention to the overwhelming consensus of their own expert review panel, and approve Plan B through Docket 2001P-0075:
Mail: Send overnight mail to Dockets Management Branch (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.
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