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Advocates' Blog
BREAKING: Justice Department will drop attempts to block OTC status for emergency contraception
Tuesday, 11 June 2013 06:48

UPDATE:  On June 20, the FDA announced that it has approved Plan B for sale on shelves without agre or ID requirements.  It is still not clear when the product will actually be available on shelves.


On Monday, June 10, the Justice Department announced it would no longer pursue attempts to block over-the-counter availability for Plan B One-Step and generic one-pill emergency contraceptives.  

The Justice Department invited Teva, the maker of Plan B, to submit an application for over-the-counter status, and said it would approve the application "promptly" (though we do not know when the product will actually move to pharmacy shelves).

This is a great step forward for helping young women prevent teen pregnancy.  Once emergency contraception has been cleared for over-the-counter status, young women of all ages who have experienced contraceptive failure, or been sexually assaulted, can simply buy it from drugstore shelves - without the age and ID restrictions that disproportionately affect young people of color, those who are undocumented, and those of lower socioeconomic status.  

Research has shown that young women can use Plan B safely. Advocates for Youth welcomes the Justice Department's decision to drop the case and take politics out of decisions about health and safety.

We are 1 in 3. We are Beatriz.
Thursday, 06 June 2013 13:13

We have been following closely the story of Beatriz, the El Salvadoran woman who spent two long months on the verge of death while unable to terminate a dangerous pregnancy. Her story has inspired an action in solidarity with Beatriz and all women who need abortion care.

Advocates for Youth, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health will sponsor a vigil in honor of Beatriz. We will gather in Dupont Circle in Washington, DC on Tuesday, June 11 at 11:30 am for prayers and to speak out about the impact of burdensome restrictions on abortion care on women and their families.

Speakers will include ADvocates for Youth's President Deb Hauser; Rev. Harry F. Knox, President and CEO of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice; and Jessica González-Rojas, Executive Director of National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health Activists.

Please join us at this action in support of safe, affordable abortion care for women everywhere!

Plan B Update
Thursday, 06 June 2013 06:25

UPDATE:  On Wednesday, June 5, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered that generic versions of emergency contraception can be sold on the shelves without I.D. while it considers the government's appeal of Judge Korman's order to sell the brand-name drug Plan B as such. .  


In early May, the Justice Department announced that it would appeal District Court Judge Edward Korman's April decision on emergency contraception being available over the counter with no age restrictions.  Judge Korman was not happy, calling the appeal, among other things, "nonsense," "baloney," and "a charade" - especially since his order had granted the FDA what they asked for in 2011.  Korman followed up his comments on the case by denying the Obama Administration's request that he delay his order making Plan B widely available. He again blasted the Administration, observing, “If a stay is granted, it will allow the bad-faith, politically motivated decision of Secretary Sebelius, who lacks any medical or scientific expertise, to prevail — thus justifiably undermining the public’s confidence in the drug approval process."  

On Monday, May 14, the the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan granted a delay in carrying out the decision at least through May 28, when they will take up the issue.

Remembering Senator Frank Lautenberg
Monday, 03 June 2013 09:53

Today, with the passing of Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) we lost a staunch ally and champion for the rights of young people.

Senator Lautenberg dedicated his life to public service and fought tirelessly for health equity. He believed that young people have the right to live healthy lives, which meant providing them with the comprehensive sexual health education they need to make informed, responsible, and healthy decisions. His constant support and co-sponsorship of the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act was a testament to that ideal. 

The young people of this country could not have asked for a better champion. Our thoughts are with his family. He will be greatly missed and always remembered as a true advocate for youth. 

A Decade of PEPFAR and Young People: What’s working and what isn’t
Friday, 24 May 2013 12:03

by Janine Kossen, Director of Public Policy

PEPFAR—the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief—officially turns ten on May 27th, the date when President George W. Bush signed it into law. It’s a remarkable milestone given that many global health and development programs never make it out of their infancy. With the program now entering its pre-teen years, it’s the perfect time to take stock of its efforts to reach young people in their second decade of life.

Over the past ten years, we have witnessed dramatic scientific advances in the fight against HIV and AIDS, spurring renewed hope that the end of AIDS is in sight. These advances, coupled with the U.S. Government’s Blueprint for Achieving an AIDS-Free Generation and the recently-released Institute of Medicine evaluation of PEPFAR, offer real promise for the way forward.

This promise, however, is in real jeopardy. Several years of level and/or decreased funding threaten the successes PEPFAR has achieved to date. While politicians wrangle over funding and policy decisions in Washington, HIV continues to take its toll on our families, our communities, and our nations, particularly among young people. Despite declines in HIV prevalence among young people in recent years, 15-24 year-olds continue to account for four in ten new infections around the globe. This is simply unacceptable.

50 Days of Action for Women and Girls, Continued!
Tuesday, 21 May 2013 07:21

It’s Week 6 of 50 Days of Action for Women and Girls, a campaign to  demonstrate mass support for policies and programs that will allow women and girls to be healthy, empowered, educated, and safe.

How can you get involved?

  • Follow the conversation at #usa4women and use these sample tweets: 
    • #SecKerry @statedept @usaid Approx. 14 mill. girls are married every year before they turn 18. #endchildmarriage #usa4girls #usa4women
    • #SecKerry @statedept @usaid: Child brides are more vulnerable to #HIV #STI. US foreign policy must address early/forced marriage #usa4girls #endchildmarriage
An Open Letter to Joel Stein
Monday, 13 May 2013 06:46


In this week’s Time Magazine, Joel Stein took a look at the Millennial generation – and said that Millennials are “inactive” and “lack passion.”  Advocates’ President Debra Hauser wrote this open letter to Time Magazine and Joel Stein informing them otherwise!

Regarding your cover story, "The Me, Me, Me Generation": We're thrilled that Joel Stein took some time to get to know the Millennial generation, and that he recognizes their potential for greatness. But we were surprised and saddened by his assessment that Millennials are inactive and lack passion. We work with Millennial activists in all 50 states, on hundreds of college campuses, and in dozens of communities in the United States and around the world. Every day, we are inspired by their dedication and willingness to be the source of positive change. From campus activists in Texas who registered thousands of voters for the 2012 presidential election; to Eriauna, a young woman who bravely stands outside a Kentucky women's clinic every week defending women's right to access abortion care; to Chelsea and Lizzie, who rightfully defied their college's order to stop distributing condoms on their campus

On Plan B, politics trumps young women's health - again
Thursday, 02 May 2013 08:19

by Kate Stewart, Executive Vice President for Public Affairs

When I wrote about access to emergency contraception a year and a half ago, the Obama Administration had just overruled the FDA’s ruling that would have made Plan B available over the counter, without age restriction or ID requirements. With loaded remarks about “bubble gum and batteries,” the President had decided that Plan B had to remain locked up, accessible only to those who can prove they are 17 or older.

Since then the Administration’s decision-making has gone from bad to worse, continuing to allow politics to trump the health and well-being of young women. The events of this Spring and the moves by the Administration are truly mind-boggling.

First, in early April of this year, we all hailed a judge’s ruling that emergency contraception must be made available on store shelves within 30 days with no age or identification requirements. We thought – finally! – the decade long battle over emergency contraception has come to a close, and now young women and their partners will have access to back-up birth control without unnecessary and burdensome restrictions.

Not so fast. Earlier this week, the FDA, in a downgrade of its own 2011 ruling, announced that Plan B was approved for those with ID who could prove they were fifteen or older. Not so great.

Then last night, the Justice Department announced that it would appeal the judge’s April decision on emergency contraception being available over the counter with no age restrictions.

Never mind the absurdity of the picture the White House paints of a child buying a $50 pregnancy prevention medication from the drugstore, or that that same drugstore sells thousands of non-age-regulated chemicals and medicines which cost far less and pose far more danger to someone who uses them incorrectly. Never mind that science has shown that young people are capable of assessing when they need emergency contraception and using it appropriately (according to the FDA’s own 2011 ruling and to what its scientific staff have been recommending since 2004). And that the medical community supports making emergency contraception available with no age restriction.

The political machinations are dizzying. But forgotten are the real victims of this shell game: young women who need emergency contraception, for whom there is now one more barrier to preventing unintended pregnancy.

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