Statement of Eleanor Smeal on Blocking FDA Approval of Plan B One-Step

The Feminist Majority urges President Obama to reverse the HHS decision to block FDA approval of Plan B over the counter without an age restriction. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius took unprecedented action today to overrule the FDA’s recommendation to approve Plan B One Step. This decision must not be the final word on Plan B.

The FDA’s recommendation “reflects a body of scientific findings, input from external scientific advisory committees.” The Center for Drug Evaluation and Research and FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MF, agreed. “Experts, including obstetricians/gynecologists, and pediatricians [who] reviewed the totality of the data and agreed that it met the regulatory standard for a nonprescription drug and that Plan B One-Step should be approved for all females of child-bearing potential.”

This decision not only affects girls’ lives, but also women’s lives. Right now, Plan B is accessible only behind the counter and after the presentation of an ID that proves age of 17 years or a prescription. The FDA medical and scientific experts view this as unnecessary. Considering this medication has a narrow time limit for its effectiveness to prevent unintended pregnancy, this is not only a burden but for too many proves to be a barrier. Plan B must be freely available over the counter without government interference. Women must not be forced to jump unnecessary hurdles to obtain safe and effective contraception. Men and boys of all ages can obtain condoms easily, without interference from any governmental authority. Women and girls deserve equal treatment and respect, at the minimum. Politics must not trump science nor medical standards for FDA approval of Plan B over-the-counter without an age restriction.