Fighting for Plan B

Annie Tummino arrested after sit-in
photo: Brandon Schulman

On January 7, 2005, nine women were arrested for blocking access to FDA headquarters in Washington, D.C. The FDA, the women charge, has been blocking access to the morning-after pill (Plan B) for far too long, by refusing to make emergency contraception an over-the-counter drug. A year and a half later, Plan B is still available by prescription only. The medication is most effective when taken within 24 hours of having sex. But as the system stands, in order to get a prescription in time, "there are too many hoops for women to jump through," says Annie Tummino, chair of the Women's Liberation Birth Control Project. The BCP, dedicated to keeping steady pressure on the frozen FDA, hosts tonight's panel discussion with Simon Heller, attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights; Carol Giardina, lead organizer for Redstockings Allies and Veterans NYC, and James Trussell, of the National Medical Committee of Planned Parenthood. Trussell sat on the FDA advisory panel that recommended Plan B for over-the-counter use way back in 2003. Tummino, the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit charging the FDA with sex discrimination, speaks out as well.

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