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On Thursday night, an Oklahoma district court judge permanently struck down a state law that prevented some teenagers from buying Plan B over the counter, ruling that the restriction was essentially an abuse of power by the legislature.

The law would have required girls under the age of 17 to obtain a prescription and show identification in order to buy emergency contraception, an unnecessary age restriction that seriously hampers teen girls’ ability to prevent unintended pregnancies. Gov. Mary Fallin (R) approved the measure last year, just a month before the Obama administration approved over-the-counter Plan B for girls of all ages.

But Oklahoma County District Judge Lisa Davis — who had already issued a temporary injunction to block the law — ultimately determined that the measure violates the state’s “single-subject rule.” Lawmakers aren’t allowed to address multiple unrelated issues in a single piece of legislation, and the emergency contraception restriction was tacked onto a law about health insurance regulations.

The ruling is a victory for the Center for Reproductive Rights, the group that brought a lawsuit against the restriction last August.

“This unconstitutional provision was nothing more than an attempt by hostile politicians to stand in the way of science and cast aside their state’s constitution to block women’s access to safe and effective birth control,” David Brown, a staff attorney for the organization, said in a statement. “We hope the court’s ruling sends yet another strong message to politicians in Oklahoma that these underhanded tactics are as unconstitutional and deceptive as they are harmful to women in their state.”

Despite the fact that Plan B hit pharmacy shelves over the summer, some women are still struggling to access it, thanks to ongoing confusion about the federal and state regulations regarding emergency contraception. And Oklahoma isn’t the only state to attempt to impose state-level restrictions on the morning after pill. Conservatives have been laying the groundwork to push for more state laws to undermine over-the-counter Plan B access, and this type of legislation was recently introduced in Mississippi.

(via fuckyeahsexeducation)



Signal boosting in case anyone needed to know this. 

This is informative as heck. Show this to everyone!

(via killjoyfeminist)

“According to the Demographic Health Survey, in Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, and Brazil, the proportion of currently pregnant women under age 20 who reported their pregnancies were mistimed or unwanted was 46 percent, 50 percent, 55 percent, and 58 percent, respectively.” Increased use of emergency contraception would help prevent those unintended pregnancies as well as reduce the number of unsafe abortions (which cause the death of an estimated 68,000 women each year). Accessing emergency contraception also creates an opportunity for women to be introduced to other reproductive health services. Studies have shown that women who use ECPs tend to switch to more effective contraceptive methods. Emergency contraception providers have a unique opportunity to connect women with related services and discuss future contraception and STI/HIV prevention.
From Despite Controversy, Emergency Contraception Remains an Important Option, International Conference on Family Planning, Ethipoia, here.
The decisions of the Secretary with respect to Plan B One-Step and that of the FDA with respect to the Citizen Petition, which it had no choice but to deny, were arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable.
Federal Judge Korman, after ordering the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make the morning-after birth control pill available to people of any age without a prescription.

It’s been a few months now since Heather posted “Back Up Your Birth Control Backup Day” making it crystal clear that, despite some pretty unethical misinformation given to young people seeking it, emergency contraception in the US is totally legal to sell to people 17+ without prescription.

It was few days later over here in the UK that I read a blog-post from a student in London that she had been refused emergency contraception, but not because of her age:

I went to a Boots pharmacy which said on the door come here for emergency contraception. So, I went in and asked and the woman pharmacist told me that due to her religious beliefs she was unable to serve me the morning after pill.

Which had me asking myself what the law actually is in the UK. Despite not having a uterus of my own, I’ve still bought emergency contraception with a partner and would appreciate knowing. After doing a bit of research, and with some help from the wonderful Dr. Petra Boynton, here’s what I found out…

Read the rest at Scarleteen here.

"Labels inside every box of morning-after pills, drugs widely used to prevent pregnancy after sex, say they may work by blocking fertilized eggs from implanting in a woman’s uterus. Respected medical authorities, including the National Institutes of Health and the Mayo Clinic, have said the same thing on their websites.

Such descriptions have become kindling in the fiery debate over abortion and contraception. Based on the belief that a fertilized egg is a person, some religious groups and conservative politicians say disrupting a fertilized egg’s ability to attach to the uterus is abortion, “the moral equivalent of homicide,” as Dr. Donna Harrison, who directs research for the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, put it. Mitt Romney recently called emergency contraceptives “abortive pills.” And two former Republican presidential candidates, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, have made similar statements.

But an examination by The New York Times has found that the federally approved labels and medical websites do not reflect what the science shows. Studies have not established that emergency contraceptive pills prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb, leading scientists say. Rather, the pills delay ovulation, the release of eggs from ovaries that occurs before eggs are fertilized, and some pills also thicken cervical mucus so sperm have trouble swimming.

It turns out that the politically charged debate over morning-after pills and abortion is probably rooted in outdated or incorrect scientific guesses about how the pills work.”

Read more: Study: Morning-after pills don’t prevent fertilized egg’s implantation - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_20790373/study-morning-after-pills-dont-prevent-fertilized-eggs#ixzz1x1mmg6In

Or, as we explained here a couple years back on our Birth Control Bingo page about EC:

Emergency contraception (EC) is a method of birth control, in that it is a means to prevent pregnancy before it occurs. Plan B can prevent pregnancy primarily, by delaying or inhibiting ovulation and inhibiting fertilization, and that may be the only way it works, as it is the way it has been proven to work in clinical studies. As explained by the ARHP, “although early studies indicated that alterations in the endometrium after treatment with the regimen might impair receptivity to implantation of a fertilized egg, more recent studies have found no such effects on the endometrium. Additional possible mechanisms include interference with corpus luteum function; thickening of the cervical mucus resulting in trapping of sperm; alterations in the tubal transport of sperm, egg, or embryo; and direct inhibition of fertilization. No clinical data exist regarding the last three possibilities.

Also,  reminder about that “morning-after” moniker: emergency contraceptive pills can work for up to 120 hours, or five days after a possible or known pregnancy risk, not just the morning-after.  They are most likely to be effective the sooner they are taken, ideally within 24 hours after a risk, but still can help reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy if taken within 120 hours.

The influence of politics on science and women’s health was once again on full display late last year. In December 2011, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius blocked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of Plan B One-Step’s over-the-counter (OTC) status. It would have been the first time emergency contraception (EC) would be available without a prescription for women of all ages. Instead, it was the first time a HHS secretary overrode the FDA’s decision to approve a medication.

While Secretary Sebelius’ decision to intervene and block Plan B One-Step’s OTC status was shocking on several fronts—given the mounds of scientific evidence proving EC as safe and effective for adolescents and this Administration’s pledge to scientific integrity—those of us at the Center for Reproductive Rights saw it as “déjà vu all over again.”

We’ve been battling the FDA’s politicization of EC for over a decade—trying to hold the FDA accountable in federal court for treating EC differently than any other medication.

Read the rest over at RH Reality Check here.