Pelavin: “By allowing for expanded access to emergency contraceptives, we can provide young women with the resources necessary to make decisions about their own reproductive health.”
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WASHINGTON, D.C., March 24, 2009 – In response to a federal judge’s ruling yesterday ordering the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expand access to emergency contraception (also known as “Plan B”), Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
We applaud yesterday’s ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York that orders the FDA to lower the age at which young women can purchase over-the-counter emergency contraception from 18 to 17. The court also instructed the FDA to reassess whether emergency contraceptives should be available over the counter to minors under age 17.
By allowing for expanded access to emergency contraceptives, we can provide young women with the resources necessary to make decisions about their own reproductive health. Yesterday’s decision is a crucial step toward reducing the number of unintended pregnancies and, by extension, of abortions. We encourage the FDA to thoroughly investigate whether emergency contraceptives such as Plan B are safe for use by women under the age of 17 and to ultimately base their decision whether to make it readily available to these women in science rather than ideology.
Jewish tradition teaches that it is the responsibility of the entire community, not just a patient and doctor, to provide health care. We welcome this step toward greater access to reproductive health care and will continue to work tirelessly to ensure reproductive rights to women worldwide.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis.