Emergency Contraception, Health Care Reform, Sex Education

Good News & Bad News: Birth Control Access

GOOD NEWS FIRST: In a monumental decision, last Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to remove longstanding age and point of sale restrictions that prevent women from easy access to emergency contraception. The FDA has 30 days to comply.

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As it stands, emergency contraceptives are only available to women 17 and older without a prescription; younger teenagers need a prescription from a doctor; and women of all ages have a hard time securing the morning after pill (Plan B) if the pharmacist refuses to sell it to them for moral reasons.

Nancy Northup, president and CEO for the Center for Reproductive Rights, celebrated the victory:  “Women all over the country will no longer face arbitrary delays and barriers just to get emergency contraception. It’s a true victory for all women, especially young women, women without government-issued identification, and those who live in areas with limited pharmacy hours.” (More at Jezebel.)

AND NOW FOR THE BAD NEWS: Boston College, a Catholic university, sent a letter threatening disciplinary action to campus group Boston College Students for Sexual Health asking them to stop their practice of handing out free condoms and distributing information about safe sex, saying that “The distribution of condoms is not congruent with our values and traditions“.

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The silver lining on the dark cloud is that according to group members, the controversy has only publicized their efforts. Said senior Lizzie Jekanowski, the chairwoman of the group, “‘Wait, I can get free condoms? Where?’ That’s been the student response more than anything else.” The group is refusing to back down, arguing “[s]tudents are going to be having sex regardless, and unless they have the education to know that you need to use a condom every time — for pregnancy prevention, S.T.I. prevention — and unless they have them available, they’re not going to use it.”

Way to go, Students for Sexual Health, and shame on you, Boston College! Read more at Jezebel.

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