The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and the National Council of Jewish Women are lauding yesterday’s decision by a federal court to expand access to emergency contraception, also known as "Plan B." The ruling orders the federal government to lower the age at which women can purchase the drug from 18 to 17 within the next 30 days and tells the FDA to reconsider its ban on sales of the drug to those under 17. Here are the press releases from the two groups:
First, the RAC:
In response to a federal judge’s ruling yesterday ordering the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expand access to emergency contraception (also known as “Plan B”), Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
We applaud yesterday’s ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York that orders the FDA to lower the age at which young women can purchase over-the-counter emergency contraception from 18 to 17. The court also instructed the FDA to reassess whether emergency contraceptives should be available over the counter to minors under age 17.
By allowing for expanded access to emergency contraceptives, we can provide young women with the resources necessary to make decisions about their own reproductive health. Yesterday’s decision is a crucial step toward reducing the number of unintended pregnancies and, by extension, of abortions. We encourage the FDA to thoroughly investigate whether emergency contraceptives such as Plan B are safe for use by women under the age of 17 and to ultimately base their decision whether to make it readily available to these women in science rather than ideology.
Jewish tradition teaches that it is the responsibility of the entire community, not just a patient and doctor, to provide health care. We welcome this step toward greater access to reproductive health care and will continue to work tirelessly to ensure reproductive rights to women worldwide.
And the NCJW:
The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) today applauded the decision by the US District Court for Eastern New York requiring the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to revisit its restrictions on over-the-counter sales of Plan B emergency contraception. The court also gave the FDA 30 days to end its ban on such sales to 17 year old women. NCJW President Nancy Ratzan released the following statement:
“NCJW is pleased by today’s US District Court’s decision from New York expanding young women’s access to contraception. The court ordered the FDA to permit women 17 years and older to purchase Plan B emergency contraception without a prescription. Additionally, the decision directed the FDA to reconsider its ban for all women under 18.
“This decision is a great victory for young women, for public health, and for putting science ahead of ideology. The court was right to find the FDA’s actions were made ‘in bad faith and in response to political pressure.’ The FDA’s decision-making process, the court said, ‘departed in significant ways from the agency’s normal procedures,’ and the agency engaged in ‘repeated and unreasonable delays.’ In this case it would be hard to overstate the degree to which political interference and nonscientific issues tainted FDA consideration.
“NCJW is proud to have been part of the fight to make EC widely available for more than ten years. NCJW members played an active role throughout, and we are deeply gratified that the judge upheld our view of the facts and the policy involved in emergency contraception.”