May 2004



On May 6, 2004, the FDA decided not to approve over-the-counter availability for Emergency Contraception ("EC"). This is an egregious assault against the reproductive health of women. Given the strong scientific evidence and unprecedented medical consensus supporting making EC available over the counter, this decision is unjustifiable.

Emergency Contraception is a time-sensitive treatment. If taken within 72 hours, it reduces the risk of pregnancy by up to 89 percent. The sooner a woman takes it, the better it works. Requiring a prescription for EC is a proven barrier for some women to get this back-up birth control method in time. EC helps reduce unintended pregnancy and the need for abortion.

Reflections from the D.C. March for Women's Lives

Thandi Chimurenga

I am truly appreciative to the CA Black Women's Health Project for allowing me the opportunity to attend the March for Women's Lives in Washington, DC on April 25, 2004. This March was an historic event with an attendance in excess of one million people. It was also historic in that the concerns of women of color - our lives - were given space in what has historically been a predominantly white, female arena.

For me, being in a setting with so many people gathered together for the same cause was exhilarating enough; but gathering with so many other women of color for the same cause was truly wonderful. My sistahs came from far and near and from every strata, "makin' up a million" as Dazon Dixon-Diallo, founder of SisterLove, Incorporated in Georgia stated to me.

When Whoopi Goldberg took the stage and held up that white coat hanger, saying that before Roe v. Wade, "this was our choice," it was extremely moving. Since I was a child when Roe was decided, I am not one of those who experienced the time before. I do not know the horrors of life without access to safe and affordable abortion. Being a part of this March enabled me to sit next to and dialogue with my sisters - my mothers - who did know that time first-hand - women who had the experience of almost bleeding to death, or of being permanently sterilized from an illegal and unsafe procedure - because they were not allowed the right to terminate their pregnancy. Poignant - that is the word that resonated with my spirit.

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