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Reform Jewish Leader Denounces FDA Decision to Restrict the Availability of Emergency Contraception

Feldman: The FDA's decision to ignore its own advisory committee's recommendation and instead yield to pressure from groups opposed to women's reproductive freedom signals a dangerous intrusion of politics into science.


NEW YORK May 7, 2004 -In response to yesterday's decision by the Food and Drug Administration rejecting the over the counter sale of the Plan B Emergency Contraception pill, Rabbi Marla Feldman, Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

    The Reform Jewish Movement is deeply disturbed by the Food and Drug Administration's decision not to allow the emergency contraception pill Plan B to be sold over the counter. The FDA's own expert advisory panel, whose recommendations are typically followed by the FDA, overwhelmingly voted to recommend that Plan B be made available over the counter based on the scientific evidence of approximately 40 clinical studies. The FDA's decision to ignore its own advisory committee's recommendation and instead yield to pressure from groups opposed to women's reproductive freedom signals a dangerous intrusion of politics into science.

    The citizens of this nation depend on the FDA to make decisions that are based on science and that promote the well-being of all Americans. To allow medical decisions to be made by anybody other than medical experts undermines the credibility of this agency and jeopardizes the lives of American women. To substitute sound medical judgment with political posturing is an assault on women's health.

    Studies have long showed that access to contraception does not encourage sexual activity. Access to family planning services does, however, give women increased control over their reproductive health. The Reform Jewish Movement believes that family planning is a crucial part of responsible family life. Increasing access to Emergency Contraception is an important step in ensuring that all women can exercise true reproductive choice.

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The Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism is a joint body of the Union for Reform Judaism, representing more than 900 congregations across North America encompassing 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis. The CSA oversees the work of Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C.



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