Senators Write to Sebelius Asking for Scientific Basis of Plan B Decision
Yesterday Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and 14 other US Senators issued a letter calling on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to indicate the medical and scientific basis that led her to overrule the FDA's decision to lift the age limit for emergency contraception and her refusal to permit the over-the-counter sale of the Plan B. Sebelius indicated that she did "not believe enough data were presented to support the application to make Plan B One-Step available over the counter for all girls of reproductive age."
The Senators stated, "We are writing to express our disappointment with your December 7, 2011 decision to block the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) recommendation to make Plan B One-Step available over-the-counter. We feel strongly that FDA regulations should be based on science. We ask that you share with us your specific rationale and the scientific data you relied on for the decision to overrule the FDA recommendation. On behalf of the millions of women we represent, we want to be assured that this and future decisions affecting women's health will be based on medical and scientific evidence."
Levonorgestrel, sold under the brand name Plan B, is a form of emergency contraception that must be taken within 72 hours of sexual activity. Emergency contraception or the "morning-after" pill is available behind the counter without a prescription to women over the age of 17 in the United States. Girls 16 years and younger are required to have a doctor's prescription.
Media Resources: "Plan B: Senators Call on Sec. Sebelius to Explain the Science Behind Plan B Decision" 12/13/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 12/7/11