National Partnership for Women & Families

Plan B Emergency Contraception Decision Is Profoundly Disappointing, Women's Health will Suffer, Women's Leader Says

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
Washington, D.C. — December 7, 2011 —
"It is profoundly disappointing that Secretary Sebelius countermanded the Food and Drug Administration decision and denied young women over-the-counter access to Plan B emergency contraception.

An overwhelming body of evidence shows that Plan B is safe for women of all ages. Making safe drugs that prevent unintended pregnancy available improves women’s health. Today, the Food and Drug Administration recommended doing that, and the Secretary intervened. Women’s health will suffer as a result. While the decision specifically impacts girls under age 17, all women will suffer because they will continue to be forced to ask a pharmacist for a private and time-sensitive product.

We all wish that no woman ever needed emergency contraception. We look forward to the time when every young person in this country has access to comprehensive sex education; all women have access to birth control and other preventive services without co-pays; and violence prevention is a higher priority. But now, in the real world, women and girls are at risk for unintended pregnancies every day. Creating barriers that impede and deny access to a safe, time-sensitive medication that helps prevent unintended pregnancy solves nothing."

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at

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