Weinstein: “Inspired by…our understanding that women deserve the right to make their own reproductive health decisions, the Reform Movement has advocated for over-the-counter availability of emergency contraception. Numerous studies demonstrate that access to contraception does not encourage sexual activity – instead, access to family planning services gives a woman increased control over her reproductive health.”
Washington, D.C., April 9, 2013 – In response to U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman’s ruling that emergency contraception must be made available to women of all ages, Barbara Weinstein, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
“Judge Korman’s ruling requiring that Plan B emergency contraception be available over-the-counter to women of all ages is a victory for women and for the principle of rooting health care policy in scientific principles. The ruling reflects FDA recommendations that were overruled by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius who instead imposed regulations requiring a prescription for girls 16 and younger.
We often are reminded that Maimonides, a revered medieval scholar and physician, taught that providing health care is not just an obligation for the patient and the doctor, but for the whole of society. Inspired by his wisdom and our understanding that women deserve the right to make their own reproductive health decisions, the Reform Movement has advocated for over-the-counter availability of emergency contraception. Despite the assertions of critics of Judge Korman’s ruling, numerous studies demonstrate that access to contraception does not encourage sexual activity – instead, access to family planning services gives a woman increased control over her reproductive health. According to Planned Parenthood, nearly half of all pregnancies that occur in the U.S. each year are unintended. Approximately 750,000 pregnancies will occur among 15-19 year olds each year. Emergency contraception can help reduce the extreme emotional and physical risks that pregnancy can pose for a young woman, and its increased access is crucial to protecting women’s basic health and moral agency.
Making emergency contraception available over-the-counter also helps combat many of the previous problems with the distribution of the drug, including pharmacist refusal, limited pharmacy hours, lack of proper identification, and discrimination against men or others whose access to the drug has been limited by pharmacists’ discretion.
We applaud Judge Korman’s decision, and hope that women of all ages across the country will have access to the reproductive health medications and technologies that they need and deserve.”