BOSTON— Marty Walz, Chief Executive Officer and President of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM), released the following statement in celebration of tonight’s announcement by the Obama Administration that it is dropping its appeal of a court ruling issued in April that lifted the age and point of sale restrictions on emergency contraception:
“This is a historic moment for women’s health and equity. When a woman fears she might become pregnant after her contraceptive has failed or she has had unprotected sex, she needs fast access to emergency contraception, not delays at the pharmacy counter or the checkout aisle. With this decision made by the Obama Administration, women of all ages will have timely access to emergency contraception if and when they need it.
“Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts’ seven health centers across the state provide nearly 50,000 patient visits annually. We know firsthand the profound impact that the Administration’s decision will have on women who need to prevent pregnancy if they have unprotected sex, or if they are sexually assaulted, or if their birth control fails.”
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.
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.
Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts is the largest freestanding reproductive health care provider and advocate in the state. For 85 years PPLM has protected and promoted sexual and reproductive health and rights through clinical services, education and advocacy. For more information, visit www.pplm.org.
Advocacy & Communications Coordinator
June 10, 2013