According to a statement issued by the Partnership for Civil Justice, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been ordered to remove all restrictions on the "morning after" pill. The ruling that came from U.S. District Judge Edward Korman this morning who indicated that Plan B should be available "without a prescription and without point-of-sale or age restrictions within thirty days." In other words, the FDA has 30 days to make sure all women aged 17 and older are able to march into any pharmacy and have access to the drug. In his memorandum, the judge made sure to debunk any myths about the safety of the drug (which somehow still needs to be formally addressed). He said:
"These emergency contraceptives would be among the safest drugs sold over-the-counter."
The lawsuit against the FDA first began in 2005 when evidence suggested that the Bush administation had pressured FDA employees to impose an age limit on the pill. In 2009, Judge Korman claimed that the age restrictions were not only arbitrary, but also unsafe and mainly political. That's when he ordered the FDA to make it available to 17- year-olds too, but as you may remember, Obama didn't approve. The judge called Obama's deviations from the recommendations "unjustified departures" and said the arguments put forward by the administration were an "excuse to deprive the overwhelming majority of women of their right to obtain contraceptives without unjustified and burdensome restrictions." He called the Obama administration's actions "political interference" and explained that "the motivation for action was obviously political ... It was an election year decision that many public health experts saw as a politically motivated effort to avoid riling religious groups and others opposed to making birth control available to girls.'"
If you didn't sprinkle any truth in your oatmeal this morning, there's a whole lot right there.
After the decision was announced, the lead plaintiff Annie Tummino, the Coordinator of National Women’s Liberation (NWL) said:
"This decision is a welcome advance and affirms what feminists have been fighting for all along – the morning after pill should be available to females of all ages, on the shelf at any convenience store, just like aspirin or condoms. Women and girls should have the absolute right to control our bodies without having to ask a doctor or a pharmacist for permission."
Andrea Costello, Partnership for Civil Justice Fund Senior Staff Attorney representing the NWL Plaintiffs explained that "Women and girls have won a landmark victory today for reproductive justice" and added:
"The denial of full access to the morning after pill has been an outrageous political decision and wholly without scientific basis – under both the Bush and Obama administrations. The court’s decision dramatically expands access to a safe and effective form of birth control and is a ruling in favor of science and for justice for women."
Erin Mahoney, plaintiff and NWL-New York Chapter organizer pointed out that Plan B is already accessible in 63 countries without a prescription. Countries like the United Kingdom, France Denmark and even Ghana have all made the morning after pill available to women. She added:
"We are glad the U.S. has finally caught up to women around the world, but it shouldn’t have taken over a decade of pressure from feminists, our allies and a lawsuit."
Plaintiff Stephanie Seguin who is NWL-Gainesville Chapter organizer stated that "The National Women’s Liberation believes that any female old enough to get pregnant is old enough to decide that she doesn’t want to be pregnant. This decision to grant immediate access to the morning after pill is a huge step forward in the fight for women and girls to be able to control the course of their lives."
Someone please make a tote bag that says "any female old enough to get pregnant is old enough to decide that she doesn't want to be pregnant." That's just pure logic.
Well cheers to that. Actually cross that. It's 10am. This is how the feminist editor and I will be celebrating this landmark feminist birth control victory.
Happy? Thrilled? Ecstatic? Let me know how you'll be celebrating on twitter @feministabulous