The View Erupts Over Plan B

"Everybody has strong opinions... There are many other arguments people could give you. I think the most important thing, which is what we see here today, is we've got to be able to have these discussions and listen to other people's opinions and not go so crazy," said Barbara Walters, host of The View, after a segment she introduced to discuss Plan B was high-jacked by the anti-choice passion of guest panelist and GOP pinup Elisabeth Hasselbeck.





Don’t Believe the Hype

Editorial Note: With this post Rewire welcomes its newest staff blogger, Tyler LePard. Tyler has worked in and volunteered with a variety of reproductive health organizations, as well as in other progressive causes. She has her BA from Wesleyan University and a Masters in Public Policy from George Washington Univeristy. We are pleased she has joined our team and we know you will look forward to reading her posts.

If you happened to read a press release from Instead Sciences, Inc. on Business Wire a couple of days ago, you may have gotten very excited about the first approved microbicide about to hit the market. But hold on a minute - settle down and prepare for disappointment. This was just a misunderstanding - a tweaking, if you will, by some PR people.

When Tommy Thompson (the Chair of Instead Sciences, Inc.) said "Amphora -- which already has FDA safety clearance for human use -- is in the best position to be the first approved microbicide", apparently what he really meant is that Amphora has been approved as a sexual lubricant... and that they might know something about its effectiveness in preventing infection (such as Chlamydia and Gonorrhea) by the year 2010. MAYBE.

Hyde and Seek

In 1976, three years after the Supreme Court handed down the Roe v. Wade decision to legalize abortion in the United States, Congress passed the Hyde amendment--which, in one fell swoop, overturned Roe v. Wade for millions of low-income American women. The amendment, named for Congressman Henry Hyde (R-IL and 30 years later, still fighting access to safe abortion), forbids federal funding for abortion unless a woman's pregnancy is life-threatening, or unless it's is a result of rape or incest. Before the passage of the Hyde amendment, federal Medicaid paid for one-third of all abortions. Since 1977, it has paid for virtually none.

A Plan for Plan B: FDA and the Art of Illusion

Marilyn Keefe is Vice President of Public Policy for the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association

Any amateur magician seeking to master the art of illusion should contact the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for lessons, as the agency has all but perfected its smoke and mirrors routine. For the past three years, FDA has succeeded in tricking the audience - in this case, the American public - into believing that it is taking real steps toward making Plan B emergency contraception available over-the-counter when in reality the agency has been standing still, a feat that may well rival any David Copperfield performance.

Family Research Council’s Blog is Confused About Plan B

I’ll just start with the assumption that many of you (since you’re reading this blog) also read the blog from the Family Research Council. There may be a few of you here and there who don’t read it every day, yeah, sure. Fine. But those of you who do may have noticed that they, too, are providing some coverage of the Senate hearings for Andrew Von Eschenbach, and I bet you took issue with a response to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) posted there yesterday.

Kansas Primary, South Dakota Poll, Count Down to Connecticut …. HOT Politics!

While much of the national news coverage about yesterday's Kansas Primary focused on the evolution issue, the Kansas State Bored (for surely they must be) of Education has sought to compromise sexuality education as well. Fortunately, the defeat of several socially conservative ideologues in both the GOP and Democratic primaries likely signals an end to the madness. Moderate candidates won in both primaries, securing a 6-4 moderate majority no matter which party wins in November. As a Kansan-in-exile, I can assure you that is a relief, because the evolution jokes were starting to out-number the Dorothy jokes.

Looking forward, a new poll from South Dakota indicates voters there are leaning toward rejecting the legislature's ban on abortions (even in the cases of rape and incest), but according to the same poll, would approve it if those exclusions were not written into the bill.

Bush’s AIDS Council: Texas Two-Step Only Qualification

William Smith is Vice President for Public Policy at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States.

It comes as no surprise to readers of this site that the Bush Administration puts a very low value on public health. Did you know, for example, that Surgeon General Carmona’s term expired last week? Carmona who? Exactly.

An equally opaque announcement came last week with the appointment of seven new members to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). Created under the Clinton Administration, there was a time when these spots were coveted and coveted because PACHA once reflected the national face of AIDS. Now, however, PACHA reflects Texas, and the hypermoralism that has come to characterize every social issue on President Bush’s agenda.

It Might Surprise You to Learn…

So I hear from the Internet that after more than three years of delays, in a move doubtless spurred on by some fantastic grassroots activism on the part of ordinary American women, the FDA might actually get around to approving emergency contraception (EC) for over-the-counter use in the United States--this time, for serious (though I'll believe it when I see it). Will wonders never cease? If the FDA puts its money where its mouth is, American women might finally have access to the safe, effective, unintended-pregnancy-preventing product that their sisters in countless countries worldwide have been buying at the drugstore for years.

The Latest on Plan B

After months of silence on the issue, today has been a big day for Plan B, the emergency contraception pill at the heart of a political battle involving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and the Workforce held its first hearing today to determine whether it would give approval to Andrew von Eschenbach, nominee for FDA Commissioner. And yesterday, just ahead of this hearing, FDA sent a letter to Plan B’s manufacturer requesting a meeting to discuss its approval for over-the-counter sales.