Last week, Dr. Lester Crawford, the nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration, gave yet another excuse for failing to make the emergency contraceptive, Plan B, available without a prescription. During his confirmation hearing, Dr. Crawford claimed that the Center for Reproductive Rights' lawsuit against the FDA had "complicated" his agency's review of the drug. But the truth is that nothing about the existence of the suit further delays the FDA process. It should only encourage the agency to act more quickly to resolve the issue. The plaintiffs in Tummino v. Crawford-the Association for Reproductive Health Providers, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and individuals from the grassroots group the Morning-After Pill Conspiracy-only demand that the FDA live up to its responsibilities and issue a decision based on the overwhelming scientific and medical evidence. The FDA's own scientific experts have recommended that Plan B be made available without a prescription and without age restrictions. Volumes of scientific research and international experience also prove that the drug is safe and effective for women of all ages. And experts estimate that increased access to emergency contraception could cut the U.S. annual rate of three million unplanned pregnancies in half. Contrary to Dr. Crawford's claims, the Center for Reproductive Rights' lawsuit does not inject complication, it offers a common sense solution to a recurring problem.
Statement from Nancy Northup, President, Center for Reproductive Rights