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Students needed to help EC campaign

Press Advisory from the Feminist Majority Foundation.

In the latest battle over Emergency Contraception (EC), student activists nationwide are collecting petitions and flooding emails in support of U.S. Senate efforts, led by Senators Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray, to block the confirmation of Bush's appointee to head the FDA until the FDA finally decides whether to grant EC over-the-counter status.

When taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, condom failure, or sexual assault, EC is proven effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies. In 2003, an FDA panel of experts overwhelmingly recommended that the FDA approve an application to make EC available over-the-counter, but politics has stalled a final decision for three years.

Working with the Feminist Majority Foundation campaign, student activists have already delivered over 100,000 emails and petition signatures to the FDA demanding EC over-the-counter approval. Feminist clubs are also coming up with creative ways to increase awareness about EC on campus. This spring, feminist clubs conducted Safe Spring Break campaigns, educating students to visit their health centers and get an advance prescription of EC to have on hand in case they needed it during Spring Break.

A 2005 survey of college campus health centers found that only 67% of campus health centers offer EC. Access to EC is even more restricted at private colleges, with only 54% of campus health centers providing access to EC. At both private and public schools, weekend hours are rare for campus health centers.

"We urge students everywhere to visit to sign an email petition to Senators Clinton and Murray asking them to hold firm," said Crystal Lander, Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation's campus program. Last year, Clinton and Murray extracted a promise that the EC decision would be made by September 1, only to have the FDA miss the deadline and announce yet another indefinite delay.