We are outraged by the government continuing to play politics with a safe and effective form of birth control that should have been over-the-counter 10 years ago, said Gainesville resident Candi Churchill, part of the Gainesville chapter of the National Womens Liberation and one of the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit. The Bush and Obama administrations have interfered with the FDA on a level never seen before. They are affecting our lives and ability to decide if and when we get pregnant. We believe that if a female is old enough to get pregnant, she is old enough to decide if she doesnt want to be.
Along with womens health groups, much of the medical world has supported the use of emergency contraception as safe.
It is a safe and effective product in which the benefits outweigh the risks. But it is intended as a back-up method, not a primary method of birth control, said Dr. Karen Y. Tang, assistant professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. This is for situation in which there is a malfunction of a birth-control method or an accident.
Still, there are those who question why the lack of regulation.
The court and the FDA are acting irresponsibly by making this powerful drug available without a prescription to minor children. The courts action undermines parents ability to protect their daughters from the adverse effects of the drug itself, said Barbara Groeber, education coordinator of the Archdiocese of Miamis Respect Life Ministry.
Coconut Grove resident Rebecca Chancy began following the case as a topic in the presidential election. She views the decision as a fair compromise on the lightning-rod issue of access to emergency contraception.
I am amazed that anyone would be more inclined to have a 15-year-old raise a child than take a medication, which should be sold over the counter since there is no medical evidence that taking the pill hurts the patient, said Chancy, 30, who works in accounting. Its a moral argument that belongs in a church, not a pharmacy.
Christi Hayes, responding to an inquiry on the Miami Heralds Facebook account, supports the FDAs decision also.
Young girls are the least prepared for pregnancy. Emergency contraception if taken in time prevents pregnancies. Why limit its availability? she wrote in an email. Emergency contraception doesnt lead to kids having sex any more than Tylenol leads college students to get drunk. Restricting this pill does nothing to protect young women.
But for Father Alfred Cioffi, an Archdiocese of Miami priest for 28 years, the contraception promotes sexual intimacy.
It pushes sex more and more into the realm of casual entertainment, said Cioffi, who also teaches biology and bioethics and St. Thomas University.
Shirley Mantilla, 23, a Miami mother of four, cant imagine her daughter having access to the morning-after pill.
I got pregnant at 14 and gave birth at 15 and I have to tell you I am very opposed to giving the girls access. There are options if you have an unwanted pregnancy, like adoption, she said. And I would feel like I failed as a parent if she went behind my back and did this. I would rather see her come to us and I would love her and my grandchild.
A previous version of this article had an incorrect title for Candi Churchill, part of the Gainesville chapter of the National Womens Liberation and one of the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit.