FDA shouldn’t limit women’s rights

By Jennifer Meyer

Women’s reproductive freedoms and choices are being limited.

Even though many forms of birth control are known to be safe and effective, access to them is being denied.

Women may be losing their freedom to choose when and if they want to start a family. Some argue that certain forms of birth control should not be available without a prescription.

However, situations arise where getting to an OB-GYN is not an option and birth control is needed immediately. In those cases, women should be able to rely on their neighborhood pharmacist to provide them with emergency contraceptives

Emergency contraception can be incredibly useful in instances of rape or condoms breaking. During these times, women should be comforted to know they have another option. The Food and Drug Administration may be thinking otherwise.

Emergency contraception, or the “morning after pill,” is being hotly debated. If taken correctly, the pill can help prevent pregnancy when taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. According to PharmaLive.com, the pill has been proven safe for adults as well as adolescents.

Scientists who work for the FDA have said the pill is safe and advisers support over-the-counter sales for all ages.

Even so, the FDA said young teenagers would still need a prescription because the administration could not decide how to enforce an age limit even though it is safe for teenagers to use the pill (www.foxnews.com).

Even so, some people in authoritarian positions believe emergency contraception should not be readily available.

The FDA has repeatedly put off its decision on whether to allow emergency contraception to be available without a prescription.

According to a National Organization of Women newsletter, the FDA believes young women will not be able to read and understand the directions.

They cannot find a way to keep the pill out of the hands of teenage girls, so no woman should be allowed access to the drug (www.now.org).

If the FDA believes young women will not be able to read directions, how do they expect those same young women to raise a baby?

The FDA is not the only group limiting the distribution of emergency contraception. Some pharmacists refuse to fill prescriptions because of their own personal and moral beliefs.

The pharmacists are even refusing to give back the prescription and instead choose to lecture women (www.washingtonpost.com). Every woman and man should be outraged. If a pharmacist has such strong views, he or she should find another profession outside of health care.

It should be unlawful for any pharmacist to refuse to fill any prescription based on their personal opinions. If we allow emergency contraception to be taken away from us by pharmaceutical companies, what will stop government agencies from taking away our other reproductive rights?

The FDA should not allow conservative and religious views to hinder their decision-making policies. If drugs are proved safe and effective for everyone, the FDA needs to make the drug available to everyone.

Over-the-counter emergency contraception is only hurting the moral and religious views of people who would not use the drug.

These people’s beliefs should not take precedence over a woman’s right to choose what she does with her own body.

Susan Wood, director of the FDA’s Office of Women’s Health, resigned last week to protest the FDA’s indecision.

“I can no longer serve as staff when scientific evidence, fully evaluated and recommended by the professional staff here, has been overruled,” Wood told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Hopefully, Wood’s resignation will prompt the FDA to make the correct decision and allow women to obtain emergency contraception without a prescription and regardless of age.