1.22.13 - SPEAKOUT! NWL Demands Health and Human Services Stop Blocking Over-the-Counter Approval of the Morning-After Pill


Contact: Allison Guttu (646) 285-1723

NEW YORK, NY- December 7, 2012- It has been exactly one year since Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius made the unprecedented decision to overrule the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to expand access to the Morning-After Pill.

We demand that HHS stop blocking over-the-counter approval of the Morning-After Pill. National Women’s Liberation invites all women to speak out on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 from 4:30-5:30pm, outside of 26 Federal Plaza, the New York City office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to protest the agency’s failure to correct its decision to overrule FDA scientists. We are holding a speakout on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade to underscore our demand that all females who are old enough to be pregnant have access to ALL forms of birth control.


Women directly impacted by this decision will speak about their experiences trying to access the Morning- After Pill (also known as “emergency contraception” or Plan B One-StepTM). For example, according to NWL organizer Erin Mahoney, “Once, a partner and I needed the morning-after pill in the middle of the night. When my partner arrived at the pharmacy, the pharmacist refused to dispense the pill, saying that I needed to be there to show my identification (ID) and prove that I was over 17.”

Restricting the Morning-After Pill to females ages 17 and older makes it physically inaccessible to all females because it is kept “behind-the-counter” at pharmacies. The Morning-After Pill is already available without a prescription at least 63 other countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Denmark and Ghana.

“Women and girls should be able to access all forms of birth control. The restrictions on the Morning-After Pill are a sexist insult and lessen women’s ability to control the course of our lives. The Morning-After Pill should be available to females of all ages on the shelf at any convenience store, just like aspirin or condoms,” states Annie Tummino, a leader of NWL’s NY Chapter and lead plaintiff in the Tummino v. Hamburg lawsuit against the FDA and HHS.

NWL has led the grassroots fight for unrestricted access to the Morning-After Pill in the United States. From sitting in at the FDA to filing a lawsuit against the agency, NWL members have been at the forefront of this struggle, winning a huge victory in 2006 when the FDA decided to eliminate the prescription requirement for women ages 18 and up, and another in 2009 when Tummino v. Hamburg ordered the FDA to also eliminate the prescription requirement for girls aged 17.

We are reaching out to all feminist groups and allies in NYC and across the country to join us. For more information, and to participate, contact us through our website at womensliberation.org.