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Congressman and mayoral candidate Bob Filner joined 43 of his colleagues in the House of Representatives to oppose a recent decision by sSecretary of Health and Human Services Katleen Sebelius to keep the "morning after pill," "Plan B," from women under the age of 17.

Sebelius's decision came in spite of recommendations from doctors at the Food and Drug Administration who determined the pill was safe and should be sold over the counter. In response, Filner was one of 44 members of Congress to sign a letter criticizing the decision.

The letter reads:

"Dear Secretary Sebelius,

We write to express our disappointment over your decision not to make the emergency contraceptive Plan B available over the counter for all girls of reproductive age.

Emergency contraception is a safe and effective medication that prevents pregnancy if taken soon after sexual intercourse. As you know, emergency contraception does not cause an abortion, but prevents pregnancy. Emergency contraception has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 1999. In 2006, the FDA approved emergency contraception for over the counter sales for individuals ages 18 and older, and it has been available over the counter for women age 17 and older since 2009.

Providing emergency contraception over the counter for all girls of reproductive age would be consistent with the policies of many countries around the world, including the United Kingdom. Denying over the counter access will harm the effort to prevent unintended pregnancies.

Science has confirmed that the drug is safe and effective with appropriate use and health experts have demonstrated that an age restriction is unnecessary. Your decision marks the first time a Health and Human Services Secretary has overruled FDA scientists. This is a profoundly troubling outcome from an Administration that stated science should be the foundation for such decisions. As you look ahead to future decisions affecting the health of millions of women, including those relating to birth control access, we urge you to put science first."


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