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Planned Parenthood Hails Obama Administration Decision to Drop Emergency Contraception Appeal as Historic Moment for Women’s Health and Equity

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Monica McCafferty
303.813.7732
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Published: 06.10.13| Updated: 06.11.13

DENVER– Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains President and CEO Vicki Cowart released the following statement hailing tonight’s announcement by the Obama Administration that they are dropping their appeal to a court ruling this April lifting the age and point of sale restrictions on emergency contraception:

“This is a huge breakthrough for access to birth control and a historic moment for women’s health and equity. The FDA’s decision will make emergency contraception available on store shelves, just like condoms, and women of all ages will be able to get it quickly in order to prevent unintended pregnancy.

“Emergency contraception is a safe and effective form of birth control that can prevent pregnancy if taken within five days of unprotected sex. PPRM’s 33 health centers throughout Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming serve more than 115,000 patients a year, and we know firsthand how critical this decision is for women who need to prevent pregnancy if they have unprotected sex, or if they are sexually assaulted, or if another form of birth control fails. 

“We encourage manufacturers of emergency contraception to request new labeling quickly and for the FDA to approve all such applications immediately to finally make this birth control option available without restrictions.”

BACKGROUND:

Consistent use of reliable birth control is the best way to prevent an unintended pregnancy, but unprotected sex does occur, and sometimes condoms fail. Emergency contraception provides a safe, effective way to prevent pregnancy and reduce the need for abortion.

Research:

• Studies have shown that emergency contraception is safe for use by women of all ages and that teens have equally as successful health outcomes as adult women when using it.

• Multiple studies have shown that teens are as likely as adults to use emergency contraception correctly and that both groups report little if any difficulty using the method. 

• Research also has shown that teens understand that emergency contraception is not intended for ongoing, regular use and that the rates of unprotected sex do not increase when they have easier access to emergency birth control.

• Nearly half of all pregnancies that occur in the U.S. each year are unintended. The average age for first time sex is 17, and roughly 750,000 pregnancies will occur among 15- to 19-year-olds each year. 

About Emergency Contraception:

Emergency contraception works by preventing pregnancy. It must be taken within five days of unprotected sex, and it will not work if a woman is already pregnant. EC is a safe, effective form of birth control that works by postponing ovulation, which prevents sperm from coming in contact with and fertilizing an egg. Emergency contraception does not end a pregnancy. In fact, every major medical institution, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), states unequivocally that Plan B and other types of emergency contraception are forms of birth control, and they cannot induce an abortion.

The FDA approved Plan B in 1999. It was the first progestin-only medication specifically designed for emergency contraceptive use, and was cleared for over-the-counter sales in 2006 for users 17 or older. However, doctors have been prescribing emergency birth control since the 1960s, and studies published as early as 1974 have shown emergency contraception to be safe and effective.

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Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains empowers individuals and families in the communities we serve to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health by providing high quality health services, comprehensive sex education, and strategic advocacy. More than 123,000 women, men, and young adults annually visit our 33 health centers throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Southern Nevada, and Wyoming. Since 1916, we have been the region’s most trusted provider of reproductive health care. For more information about Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, call 1.800.230.PLAN or visit pprm.org for the health center nearest you.

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