News

By Peter J. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 7, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A cadre of U.S. Congressmen has demanded that the U.S. Department of Defense explain its decision to stock the abortifacient Plan-B contraceptive on U.S. bases, citing concerns over the health effects it may have on female soldiers, conscience protections, and the potential for exploitation of minors.

Nebraska Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), along with thirteen House colleagues, sent a letter Wednesday to Defense Secretary Robert Gates regarding the Defense Department's policy on stocking and distributing the “morning-after pill,” an emergency contraception also known as “Plan B” or “Next Choice.”

The Department of Defense (DoD) first announced back in February that they were going to order pharmacies on U.S. bases to provide the morning-after pill, but said the decision would be implemented at some time to be determined in the future.

The morning-after pill is designed to prevent sperm from fertilizing an egg when taken before an embryo’s conception. However, the drug can be taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse, and will also abort a newly-conceived embryo by preventing its implantation into the wall of the mother’s womb.

Although manufacturers bypass that fact by redefining pregnancy to begin at implantation, not at the fertilization of the egg, 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.

“It is our understanding that the Department (DoD) announced plans to add the morning after pill to the Basic Core Formulary by recommendation of the DoD Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T) Committee,” the letter stated, “and is in the process of implementing a comprehensive policy regarding the mandatory stocking of the morning after pill that would encompass all facilities under the DoD’s jurisdiction in the United States and abroad.”

The Congressmen said that they had several serious concerns with the policy’s implementation.

First, they noted that the FDA panel giving initial approval to Plan-B “cautioned that repeated use of the potent steroid regimen could have adverse health consequences for women and girls. This concern remains unresolved.”

They further noted the abortifacient quality of Plan B, which raises further concerns over “the adequacy of informed consent standards regarding the communication of Plan B’s potential abortifacient effects to prospective users.”

Because Plan-B is available over the counter, the Congressmen also noted with concern that minors could get hold of the drug from someone over 17 years old, raising further issues about how the drug could be used to hide statutory rape or sexual exploitation.

“For these reasons, some pharmacists and physicians throughout the United States refuse to prescribe, dispense, or refer for Plan B,” the letter continued.

“We urge you to ensure that any directive from DoD provides adequate conscience protections for any personnel who may be in a position to prescribe or dispense the morning after pill.”

The letter finally requests that the DoD explain in relation to Plan B, “counseling, informed consent and prescription procedures,” how they plan to inform women of potential health risks associated with using the pill without medical supervision, and how the DoD plans to “integrate conscience protections” when it comes to stocking and prescribing the Plan B.

The letter is signed by Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Mark Souder (R-Ind.), Todd Akin (R-Mo.), Mike Pence (R-Ind.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Pete Olson (R-Tex.), Joe Pitts (R-Penn.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Robert Latta (R-Ohio), J. Gresham Barrett (R-S.C), Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Donald Manzullo (R-Ill.), Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.).

Following much controversy in 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the morning-after pill Plan-B, manufactured by Duramed Research, for over-the-counter sales to women 18 years old and older in 2006. A federal court case by pro-abortion advocates in March 2009 forced the FDA to lower the age requirement to 17-years and older. 

University of Utah School of Medicine professor Dr. Joseph Stanford, the lone dissenting vote on the FDA panel that approved Plan B for over-the-counter, pointed out that a “more precise” FDA meta-analysis showed the pill's success rate in preventing pregnancy at about 72% – much lower than the manufacturer's claim of 89%.  

Even pro-abortion advocates have admitted that emergency-contraception (EC) has a far higher failure rate at preventing pregnancy than theorists claimed.

In a 2009 article for the pro-abortion RH Reality Check blog, journalists Elizabeth Westley, Francine Coeytaux and Elisa Wells reported that estimates showed that some effectiveness rates for Plan-B were reported as low as 59 percent, and that EC had not driven down rates of unintended pregnancy or abortion. The trio expressed worries that such findings would “put the brakes on funding.”

A U.K. study published in the British Medical Journal reported that rates of pregnancy and abortion in fact went up – not down – since the introduction of emergency contraception.  

See previous coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:

Pentagon Will Require Military Bases to Stock “Plan-B” Morning-After Pill

https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/feb/10020502.html

Comments

Commenting Guidelines

LifeSiteNews welcomes thoughtful, respectful comments that add useful information or insights. Demeaning, hostile or propagandistic comments, and streams not related to the storyline, will be removed.

LSN commenting is not for frequent personal blogging, on-going debates or theological or other disputes between commenters.

Multiple comments from one person under a story are discouraged (suggested maximum of three). Capitalized sentences or comments will be removed (Internet shouting).

LifeSiteNews gives priority to pro-life, pro-family commenters and reserves the right to edit or remove comments.

Comments under LifeSiteNews stories do not necessarily represent the views of LifeSiteNews.