The New England Journal of Medicine has condemned the FDA for its stance on the Emergency Contraception pill, otherwise known as EC. Though it has been proven safe and effective in preventing pregnancy up to 72 hours after intercourse, the FDA has repeatedly stalled its approval for over-the-counter distribution.Medical authorities at the Journal consider this delay a political maneuver. Though many Americans, including many in the Bush administration, decry EC as a tacit endorsement of premarital and unprotected sex, this issue has nothing to do with the pill's medical function. The FDA's purpose is not to make political judgments, but rather to evaluate the safety and efficacy of products like EC.

The FDA stalling is one of many recent policy initiatives that curtail women's reproductive options. It is also one of the many issues addressed by the March for Women's Lives, held in the nation's capital last weekend.

We praise the dedication of nearly 200 Brandeis students who set out to march in Washington on Sunday. Their specific beliefs aside, we should admire the fact that they were willing to spend two nights on the road to make their voice heard.

To their disappointment-and ours-47 of them remained on campus. One of the three buses the Brandeis Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance chartered to drive to the March never arrived to pick students up.

The students left behind jumped to action and organized a day-long gathering of their own to watch the march on TV and write letters to senators and House representatives advocating women's rights. We admire this quick recovery.

The Brandeis branch of FMLA has worked all year to attend this march, displaying true commitment. Reproductive rights are a major issue in the upcoming election, as federal judges appointed by the next president could potentially overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. Clearly, voting is the most important step to take here. But marching among more than 750,000 other activists or writing letters to politicians are powerful strides too, and we're proud that Brandeis was represented in Washington.

Some religiously conservative schools do not prescribe EC at all, and other schools' health centers are closed on weekends. This poses a risk for women seeking EC-its effect diminishes each hour and is almost gone after 72 hours.

But at Brandeis, access to EC is not a problem. The health center fills prescriptions for EC seven days a week. While we are fortunate enough to enjoy this reproductive freedom, it is heartening to know that the concerns of students extend beyond this campus.

Our students' loyalty to their cause-even amid frustrating setbacks-should serve as a model for all those who want to affect change.