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FDA Reopens Debate on Over-the-Counter “Morning After Pill”

LifeSiteNews.com

By Peter J. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 31, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering once again to allow over-the-counter sales of the abortifacient morning-after pill, “Plan B”, just a day before the Senate begins confirmation hearings over Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, President Bush’s nominee to head the FDA.

Early Monday, the FDA contacted Barr Laboratories Inc., the manufacturer of the “emergency contraceptive” Plan B, indicating that it wanted to meet within seven days to discuss new steps the company must take in order to sell the abortifacient without a prescription.

Last August, the FDA denied Barr Laboratories Inc. a permit to sell Plan B over the counter for the reason that the FDA has no mechanism for restricting the drug’s availability to adults over 18.

The FDA’s renewed consideration of giving the morning-after pill over the counter status has outraged Concerned Women for America (CWA) which has criticized the FDA, which it says “consistently puts women second to politics”. In its press release CWA criticized the FDA for allowing the abortifacient RU-486 to remain on the market despite the fact that it has resulted in the deaths of a number of women.

CWA then blasted the FDA for its reversal from its earlier position, condemning the move to remove prescription status from Plan B as dangerous to women’s health care and minors.

“Any scheme based on who buys the drug is absolutely meaningless,” said Wendy Wright, President of CWA. “Anyone, man or woman, over 18 could buy the drug and turn around – even in the store – and give it to a 13-year old. Neither FDA nor Barr, the Plan B drug maker, has the ability to penalize those that would sell or give the drug to a minor. No one can believe that the FDA or Barr could enforce a gender restriction on sales so that only women can buy it but men could not.”

Ms. Wright pointed out that the over the counter access of the morning-after pill did not at all reduce the number of pregnancies or abortions, but in fact increases the rate of abortion. According to statistics presented by Ms. Wright, after Scotland made the morning-after pill a non-prescription drug in 1999, the number of abortions skyrocketed in 2005 to their highest levels since abortion was decriminalized in 1967.
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“Countries that make the morning-after pill easy to access show no drop in pregnancies or abortions, but they do experience skyrocketing rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Common sense and care for women – especially minor girls – requires medical oversight of this drug. The FDA needs to stop playing games with women’s lives.”

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