December 10, 2012
One year ago, on December 7, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) overruled a decision by the Food and Drug Administration to allow emergency contraceptive Plan B One-Step® to be sold over-the-counter, without an age limit. Our physicians were outraged. They know that Plan B is safe for use by women of all ages, but it's only effective when they can access it in a timely manner.
Tell HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius: Age requirements create unnecessary hurdles that hurt women's health and reduce their ability to avoid unintended pregnancy.
PRCH joined 11 other medical organizations, representing hundreds of thousands of health care providers, in cosigning a letter to Secretary Sebelius that reads, in part: "We believe that you will find, as our organizations have found, that the best medical evidence supports the availability of this essential medication over-the-counter to all who need it." Read the full letter here.
NPR's Julie Rovner reported on the Plan B age restriction and included quotes from the letter to Secretary Sebelius. Read the story here. CQ HealthBeat (subscription only) also covered the letter from PRCH, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and seven other medical organizations.
Leadership Training Academy Fellow Tracey Wilkinson, MD, MPH, has seen firsthand what happens when women face barriers to accessing emergency contraception: "Plan B is stuck behind the pharmacy counter, leaving anyone who needs it at the mercy of the pharmacy’s limited hours. These delays hurt women.... No one should have to wait for [it]." Read Dr. Wilkinson's story about Sarah, a patient who couldn't get Plan B in time.
In her letter to the San Francisco Chronicle, PRCH Fellow Aisha Mays, MD, wrote about her patients who have been turned away at the drug store "because of the pharmacist's personal beliefs. One of my patients said she felt so embarrassed having to go to multiple pharmacies to request Plan B." Read Dr. Mays' letter here.
PRCH physician Courtney Schreiber, MD, emphasized the need to end Plan B's age requirement during the Philadelphia public radio show Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane. Dr. Schreiber, Moss-Coane, and advance practice nurse Anne Teitelman, PhD, were discussing teens' sexuality and contraception use. Listen.
Take action. Email Secretary Sebelius right now. Urge her to remove the age restriction from Plan B and allow it to be sold on open shelves.
December 5, 2012
Thank you to everyone who emailed their Congress members in support of the Shaheen Amendment, and thank you to our Fellows, who went to the Capitol to advocate for servicewomen's health. We are thrilled that the Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act, including the Shaheen Amendment, with a unanimous vote.
Now, it moves on to the House. If you haven't done so already, please take action today and urge your Congress member to lift the military’s ban on coverage for abortion in cases of rape and incest.
Our board chair Douglas Laube, MD, MEd, said: "The military prides itself on top-of-the-line care for the wounded. It’s time for rape survivors to get the same treatment." Our women in uniform dedicate their lives to protecting our country—it's time for the law to protect them. Tell your representative to support servicewomen’s health!
December 5, 2012
Leadership Training Academy Fellow Jennifer Lesko, MD, published a letter in USA Today in support of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' recent opinion that birth control pills should be available without a prescription. Dr. Lesko recounted the story of one patient, a 16-year-old who wanted get a prescription for oral contraceptives but was told she would have to wait three months for the next available appointment with her doctor. She later became pregnant. Dr. Lesko wrote: "If the pills had been available over the counter, she could have started them when she needed them, possibly preventing her pregnancy. Now, as a sophomore in high school, she must decide what to do." Dr. Lesko's letter is the last on the page.
December 4, 2012
Leadership Training Academy Fellow Aisha Mays, MD, published a letter in the San Francisco Chronicle in support of improving teens' access to emergency contraception. Dr. Mays, who treats adolescents in a school-based health center, noted that age limits and stigma can create unfair barriers for teens: "I had a 16-year-old patient come into the clinic crying and worried about being pregnant because she could not get Plan B [emergency contraception] over the weekend...because she was under the age of 17. I also have patients 17 and older who are regularly denied Plan B at the pharmacy because of the pharmacist's personal beliefs.... Teens of any age should have access to medical care when they need it." Dr. Mays' letter is the third on the page.
Help us recognize Eve Espey, MD, MPH, and Willie Parker, MD, MPH, MSc, at the 2013 Rashbaum-Tiller Abortion Provider Awards.
Video: Pre-Roe Doctors
The documentary Voices of Choice features physicians and advocates who witnessed women's suffering before Roe v. Wade. They helped as many women as they could obtain safe abortions.
Help physicians and concerned supporters improve access to comprehensive reproductive health care—donate to PRCH!
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PRCH is a doctor-led national advocacy organization. We use evidence-based medicine to promote sound reproductive health policies. We believe in reproductive choice for everyone.
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“[A]ll people, male and female, should have as much autonomy as possible and the best medical care feasible. That means caring and competent physicians in each community should provide abortions.”
William F. Harrison, MD, from “Why I Provide”