Friday, March 26, 2010

Emergency Contraception: ACCESS DENIED.

CRR Urges FDA Action on EC: The Center for Reproductive Rights released a video this week noting it has been a full year since a federal court ordered FDA to reconsider its restrictions on nonprescription access to emergency contraception. Why does this matter for Young Romans? Young women are denied access to EC, both from the pharmacy and from the health departments in NW Georgia.

  • Two weeks ago, W.O.R.T.H. volunteers called every health department in the ten county District 1-1 (14 offices including the satellites) seeking emergency contraception. Only one out of 14 offices offered her an appointment the same day. Remember, the sooner EC is used the more effective it is. At five of the health departments, she couldn't get a nurse on the phone. Two health departments asked her irrelevant questions or gave incorrect information. Two of them told her outright that the cost at a health department would be more than the pharmacy cost (~$50.00). Not one health department told her that 'income based' may mean that the medicine and the visit would be free. Federal programs allow for inexpensive medication purchasing, EC costs public health about ~$7.50 to purchase, but the savings are not filtering down to our women. Where is the money going?
  • These are health departments that receive federal Title X dollars and are required to serve the population-but in our region they are not. Is the Rome region getting their monies worth out of our Title X dollars? Who is overseeing our health departments? (I know, that is a rhetorical question).
Although people ages 17 and older can purchase EC without a prescription, they must show government-issued identification and the medication must be kept behind the counter, according to CRR. "Scientists and medical experts, including the FDA's own scientific review panel, agree there are no medical grounds for denying young women access" to EC, CRR said, adding that FDA "cannot continue hiding behind procedural delays" (Center for Reproductive Rights, 3/23).

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