By Peter J. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 24, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today its approval of Plan B, the abortifacient “morning-after pill” as a non-prescription drug to anyone over 18. The move has caused an outcry from pro-life groups who say that the high hormones doses of progestin in Plan-B also cause the abortion of a conceived human embryo and leave women vulnerable to health risks.

Under the FDA’s rules, Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc. will be allowed to distribute Plan-B on a dual prescription program that requires women over 18 to show proof of age, and minors to exhibit a doctor’s prescription. The company claims two Plan B pills prevent pregnancy once taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse.

“When used as directed, Plan B effectively and safely prevents pregnancy,” the FDA claimed in a statement.

However, Associate Executive Director Dr. Gene Rudd of the Christian Medical Association, the nation’s largest faith- based association of doctors, said in a press release that the FDA’s decision gives a “politically motivated definition of pregnancy” and “violates the crucial medical principle of informed consent”.

“Many women in America would not take it if they realized that it can have the effect of preventing a fertilized ovum—a living human embryo—from implanting in the womb and having a chance to be born, said Dr. Rudd.

Pro-life spokesmen have pointed out that not only does Plan-B act as an “emergency contraceptive” by preventing the release of an egg for fertilization, but that it causes the abortion of an already conceived human embryo by making the womb’s nourishing endometrium hostile to implantation.

In a recent press release, the president of Human Life International, Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, stated “President Bush’s implied support for the abortion-causing drug Plan B is completely inconsistent with his recent veto of the embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) funding bill. What the president apparently fails to realize is that Plan B kills the same innocent unborn children that the ESCR process does.”

Both the Christian Medical Association, an association of 17,000 doctors, and Concerned Women for America (CWA) have criticized the FDA’s absurd rationale in distributing Plan B without medical supervision, which requires medical oversight for lower doses of progestin (the hormone in birth control pills) in order to protect women from serious health complications such as blood clots and stroke.

CWA president Wendy Wright also criticized the FDA’s rules which make keeping Plan-B out of the hands of minors seem just as effective as preventing minors from receiving cigarettes.

“Any adult male who is having sex with a minor could walk into a pharmacy, buy the drug, and coax the girl into taking the pill,” said Concerned Women for America’s Wendy Wright. “Parents have the right to know their daughter’s medical needs and to support them in the process. The FDA’s irresponsible action today takes those rights out of a parent’s hands and gives them to ill-intentioned perpetrators.”Â

The decision to approve Plan-B now removes the major obstacles in the confirmation process of acting FDA commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach, whom Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) had vowed to stall pending approval of Plan-B.

See Previous LifeSite coverage:

President Bush Approves Over the Counter Early Abortion Pill, Pro-Life Base Decries Move
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/aug/06082101.html

CMA Doctors: FDA Move to Allow ‘Plan B’ Without a Prescription is Unsafe and Unwise
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/aug/06081101.html

FDA Commissioner Hearings Begin: Nominee Takes Heat from Both Sides of Abortion/Plan B Debate
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/aug/06080301.html