Take This Job and Shove It

Unless you let women make their own reproductive decisions @body no indent:The test, it seems, had been passed. Plan B, a form of emergency contraception manufactured by Barr Pharmaceuticals, had been submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. Scientists at the department’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research had done their tests and collected their data. Members of an advisory panel had put in their two cents. The process was going swimmingly and it was just a matter of time before the pill would get over-the-counter status, wasn’t it?

Nope. Not under the current administration. In August 2005, it became clear that politics spoke louder than science, and despite the fact that researchers had found it safe and effective, the FDA blocked the pill’s trip to drugstore shelves. In protest, Dr. Susan Wood, then the Assistant Commissioner for Women’s Health and Director of the FDA Office of Women’s Health – in other words, the top woman at the FDA – resigned. The FDA’s decision, she wrote in her farewell letter, “continues to limit women's access to a product that would reduce unintended pregnancies and reduce abortions [and] is contrary to my core commitment to improving and advancing women's health… I have spent the last 15 years working to ensure that science informs good health policy decisions. I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overruled.”

The women’s health heroine speaks up at Artserve (1350 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) tonight. The discussion starts at 5:30 p.m., and admission costs $25. Call 561-394-3540, or visit www.artserve.org.
Wed., Feb. 15

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Deirdra Funcheon