By Gudrun Schultz

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, October 4, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Emergency contraception fails to prevent pregnancy more than 25 percent of the time, does not reduce abortion or unplanned pregnancy rates and is capable of acting as an abortifacient, according to a damning statement by a doctor who sat on the Food and Drug Administration’s advisory panel for the drug.

Dr. Joseph Stanford is associate professor of family and preventative medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine. He participated in the FDA’s 2003 council to determine if the “morning-after pill”, or Plan B, should be given over-the-counter status and was one of just four votes against approving the drug. The drug was released for OTC sales in the U.S. one month ago.

Deseret Morning News reported yesterday on Dr. Stanford’s continuing opposition to the drug’s use. He accuses Plan B manufacturers of glossing over the pill’s abortifacient capabilities, information he says users have a right to know.

While the drug will prevent sperm from fertilizing an egg if taken before conception has occurred, it will also cause an abortion if taken after the egg has been fertilized by preventing the baby from implanting into the wall of the womb. Manufacturers bypass that fact by relying on an argument that claims life begins at implantation, not fertilization.

That argument is a “deliberate redefinition” of the beginning of life, Dr. Stanford said. Science accepts that at the moment of conception DNA from the sperm and the egg unite to form a new and completely unique human being—nothing further is added by implantation. (See: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/1999/apr/990421a.html)

Informed consent is only “marginally” addressed in the drug’s packaging, he said, “It’s the way that it’s phrased, to minimize the issue.”

Dr. Stanford also criticized the drug’s manufacturer for over-estimating the medication’s effectiveness at preventing pregnancy, with claims of 89 percent effectiveness if taken within 72 hours of intercourse.

“We did more a precise meta-analysis that shows it’s effective only 72 percent of the time, and even that number is optimistic.” As well, the more effective the drug is in preventing pregnancy after intercourse, the more likely it is to act as abortifacient, he said.

He discredited claims of proponents of the drug that it reduces abortion rates and the number of unplanned pregnancies, pointing to studies conducted in Europe, China and the United States disproving such claims.

“In all cases, they found there was no effect on abortion rates and unintended pregnancy rates.” It was a “naëve view of human nature,” he said, to assume people would not indulge in “riskier” behavior with the promise of the morning-after pill to reassure them.

In fact, abortion rates were shown to continue to climb despite easy access to emergency contraception, in a recent study from England. (See: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/sep/06091507.html)

Read full coverage from Deseret Morning News:
http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,650195725,00.html

See related LifeSiteNews coverage:

Plan B Manufacturer Admits Morning After Pill Can Cause Death of an Embryo
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/sep/06090701.html

Plan B Could Be Available Over-the-Counter in U.S. Within Mere Weeks
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/aug/06080901.html

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