Our Bodies, Our Blog

Susan Wood Issues Response to Sebelius’s Overruling of Emergency Contraception Access

By Rachel Walden |

Last week, we wrote about a controversial decision by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who overruled the FDA’s decision that emergency contraception should be made available over the counter to women of all ages.

On Friday, former FDA official Susan Wood issued her response to the move in the Washington Post, rejecting Sebelius’s claim that more data is needed on safety and label comprehension for the youngest of possible emergency contraception users:

…this type of age restriction, and worries about the use of medicines … More

Evidence Trampled By Politics: HHS Secretary Sebelius Overrides FDA Decision on OTC Emergency Contraception

By Rachel Walden |

Yesterday, Health and Human Services head Kathleen Sebelius interfered with the FDA’s decision that emergency contraception could safely be made available over the counter (OTC) without a prescription to women and girls of all ages.

The drug is already available without a prescription for women 17 and older, after years of political wrangling. Advocates have worked to ensure OTC access because emergency contraception is most effective when used as soon as possible, and time, distance, money, and privacy can be serious barriers to getting a prescription … More

New Developments in Efforts to Expand Emergency Contraception Access

By Rachel Walden |

Earlier this year, we wrote about the Center for Reproductive Rights’s efforts to bring attention to young women’s continued lack of over-the-counter access to emergency contraception, despite a lack of evidence for the current age-based cutoff.

In March of 2009, a judge ordered the FDA to extend over-the-counter access to 17-year-olds, and also to reconsider these age restrictions in general. Last week, the Center filed a motion for civil contempt against the FDA arguing that the agency has failed to reconsider … More

Quick Hit: FDA Approves 5-Day Emergency Contraception

By Rachel Walden |

In June, we wrote about the FDA’s Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs recommendation to approve ulipristal acetate (brand name “ella”) for emergency contraception. On Friday, the FDA did approve the drug, as a prescription-only emergency contraceptive to be taken up to 120 hours (5 days) after contraceptive failure/unprotected sex. Existing “Plan B”-type emergency contraception is currently approved for use up to 72 hours.

Despite the five-day use window for this drug (and the three-day window for others), some media outlets persist in … More

FDA Committee Recommends Approval of New Emergency Contraception Drug

By Rachel Walden |

The FDA’s Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs yesterday reviewed a new drug application for ulipristal acetate, an emergency contraception that prevents pregnancy after intercourse. This particular drug has been available in Europe under the brand name ellaOne since May of 2009 and is intended for use up to five days after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure.

Most other emergency contraceptions sold over the counter in the United States are officially approved for use up to three days (72 hours), although it is widely … More

Emergency Contraception Still Not Easily Available to Young Women

By Rachel Walden |

The Center for Reproductive Rights has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the continuing prescription status of emergency contraception for young women, while older women have over-the-counter access – and they’re doing it with bunnies.

As the bunnies note:

Bunny 1: Wait, I thought you didn’t need a prescription anymore.

Bunny 2: You don’t. But you still have to go to the pharmacist, show your ID, and if you’re lucky, escape without the Stares of Shame.

Bunny 1: Yikes. Why can’t you buy it … More

New Emergency Contraception Drug Stirs Old Arguments

By Rachel Walden |

A recent ABC news piece and two new journal articles (in The Lancet and Obstetrics and Gynecology) have drawn attention to an emergency contraception drug that is not currently available in the U.S. but apparently has been submitted to the FDA for review.

Emergency contraception pills (EC) currently available in the U.S.  are intended to be taken within 72 hours (3 days) of unprotected intercourse or contraceptive failure.  The drug new drug, ellaOne (ulipristal acetate), can be taken within 120 … More

Bill Proposed to Make Emergency Contraception More Readily Available to Women in the Military

By Rachel Walden |

Via AirForceTimes I learned that the Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act [S 2904/HR 4386], a bill that would require emergency contraception to be made available at all military health care treatment facilities, was introduced in mid-December by sponsors Al Franken (D-MN) in the Senate and Michael Michaud (D-ME) in the House.

NARAL Pro-Choice America praised the bill, noting the bill’s potential affect on women serving overseas, stating, “Sen. Franken’s bill is based on the principle of fairness: Women in the military serving overseas should … More

Quick Hit: Emergency Contraception Survey is Back Up

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

If you tried taking the survey about emergency contraception and found it closed this weekend, it’s because the limit for the basic plan was reached.  The survey site has been upgraded, so please give it another try. Thanks!

And if this is the first you’re hearing of it, read our previous post about the book that Heather Munro Prescott, a history professor at Central Connecticut State University, is writing on the history of emergency contraception and how … More

Take a Survey on Using Emergency Contraception for Book on the History of EC

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Have a few moments to take a survey about emergency contraception?

Heather Munro Prescott, a history professor at Central Connecticut State University, is writing a book on the history of emergency contraception, and she’s looking for input from women who have used EC — as well as input from their partners, health care providers and activists. Prescott is especially interested in hearing from women who used EC in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Yes, emergency contraception has been around for decades, though most of what … More