WASHINGTON, D.C., November 12, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A new undercover video has exposed the fact that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations are stricter for common cold medication than for the abortifacient drug Plan B.
In the video, created by Students for Life, women posing as 15-year-old girls attempt to simultaneously purchase the "emergency contraceptive" Plan B, and the cold medicine Sudafed. The “teenagers” are asked for identification, and when they say they don't have any ID, are told they can’t purchase Sudafed. However, they are allowed to purchase Plan B.
“I thought I didn’t need an ID for Plan B,” protests the undercover investigator at one Rite Aid, after being asked by the cashier for her birthday.
In response, the cashier holds up the Sudafed and says, “I need a birthday for this medicine.”
When the girl responds that she’s only 15, the cashier shakes her head and says she can’t sell her the Sudafed.
“Ok, I’ll just get the Plan B,” the girl says in response.
Plan B has long been a controversial flashpoint for pro-life and pro-abortion advocates. Activists against Plan B cite how it may cause early abortions by preventing implantation of the embryo. They also say that its availability only encourages risky behavior that can result in STDs and unplanned pregnancies, and that the effect of the massive dose of hormones the pill contains on the bodies of young girls is unknown.
Supporters, however, say it is an important part of allowing women to engage in sexual relations without becoming pregnant, and claim it will reduce unplanned pregnancies.
After years of over-the-counter access being restricted to women 17 and older, the FDA approved Plan B “as a nonprescription product for all women of child-bearing potential” on June 21, 2013. This means that girls as young as 11 years old can purchase the drug at their local pharmacy without a prescription.
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Throughout August and September, 30 Walgreens, CVS, and Rite-Aid pharmacies in Ohio, South Carolina, and Arizona were visited by undercover Students for Life “teenagers” looking to purchase both Sudafed and Plan B. In two cases, the mothers of the “teenagers” returned the Plan B and asked the cashier why the drug is being sold to minors.
Students for Life President Kristan Hawkins said in a statement that the FDA’s policy is contradictory. “Young girls are able to purchase an abortion-inducing drug without their parents’ permission but aren’t able to buy cold medicine. The logic makes zero sense.”
Students for Life says this is the first video in a series designed to draw attention to the necessity of legislation that will “put into place common-sense restrictions of Plan B, like preventing the sale of the drug to minors without parental consent and allowing drug store employees to refuse to sell the drug if their conscience dictates.”
LifeSiteNews.com reached out to the FDA as to the reasoning behind Sudafed’s stricter regulations as compared to Plan B, as well as to pro-abortion Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) for comment. As of press time, phone calls were not returned.
Plan B was approved for use by women 17 and older without a prescription in 2009, but after a great deal of controversy and two court rulings the current policy was implemented. The FDA originally tried to approve Plan B for all ages in 2011, but HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius – backed by President Obama – overruled the agency. Judge Edward Korman overruled the Secretary in April of 2013.
In a press announcement on June 21, the FDA’s Director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said, “Over-the-counter access to emergency contraceptive products has the potential to further decrease the rate of unintended pregnancies in the United States.”
The FDA’s press release also address concerns that Plan B is abortifacient, saying that the drug “will not stop a pregnancy when a woman is already pregnant and there is no medical evidence that the product will harm a developing fetus.”
This claim is in sharp contrast to what the Director of Princeton’s Office of Population Research stated in a report earlier this year. In the report, contraception supporter and leading authority on Plan B Dr. James Trussell wrote with Dr. Elizabeth G. Raymond that “women must know that [emergency contraceptive pills] … prevent pregnancy primarily by delaying or inhibiting ovulation and inhibiting fertilization, but may at times inhibit implantation of a fertilized egg in the endometrium.”
Dr. Trussell is a senior fellow at the Guttmacher Institute, and is on the board of the NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation.
Some pro-abortion organizations have side-stepped the question of Plan B’s abortifacient potential by redefining pregnancy as beginning at implantation, rather than fertilization.