By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 23, 2009 ( – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced yesterday they would not appeal last month’s ruling by a federal judge ordering the agency to make the controversial morning-after pill available to 17-year-olds without a prescription.

A New York district court judge had ruled March 23 that the FDA’s decision under the Bush administration to restrict minor girls’ free access to the pill was “arbitrary and capricious.” 

Judge Edward R. Korman’s ruling was lauded by the Center for Reproductive Rights, which had launched the lawsuit against the FDA.  The Center insisted that the potent hormonal drug, which became available over-the-counter to adults in 2006, should be more available to “young women who might benefit most from this form of contraception.”

The ruling will be implemented after Plan B’s manufacturer submits a request to the FDA.

Concerned Women for America’s (CWA) President Wendy Wright, who spoke at the FDA’s original hearing on the issue, said the decision was “driven by politics, not what is good for patients or minors.”

“Parents should be furious at the FDA’s complete disregard for parental rights and the safety of minors,” said Wright.

Wright decried the health risks posed by the largely untested drug, which has been called a “hormonal bomb.” 

“The FDA requires a prescription for the lower dose of the same drug for good reason,” she said.  “It can cause blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes in healthy women.”

Wright condemned the decision for forcing the FDA to become “snake oil salesmen,” as she says the order was based on a false impression of the drug’s effectiveness.

“Pregnancy counselors report that women are relying on Plan B as a regular form of birth control because it is easy to get,” said Wright.  “They are not aware that it is less effective than other methods of birth control and that it has not been tested to determine the effects of using it multiple times.

“Women, parents, and children who rely on the FDA to do their job deserve better than this shoddy decision,” she concluded.

Though Plan B is normally considered a “contraceptive,” studies by the FDA and Plan B’s manufacturer have shown Plan B to cause the death of an already fertilized embryo in 75 to 89% of cases, rather than prevent conception.

See related coverage:

Judge Demands FDA Allow Abortifacient Morning After Pill for Minors


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