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WASHINGTON, January 14, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A group of 49 House Republicans have urged President George W. Bush to order the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to overturn a recommendation that a new abortifacient morning-after pill (MAP) become available without a doctor’s prescription. 

Debate over making the abortifacient MAP accessible without a prescription in the U.S. last month ended with an F.D.A. panel voting 23-4 in favour of allowing levonorgestrel, marketed under the name “Plan B,” to be sold over-the-counter (OTC).  The Republican House members said that making the pills more accessible could lead to teens engaging in activities they might otherwise not do, based on the false sense of security inherent with availability of the pill. 

Their letter said: “We are concerned that adolescent exposure to sexually transmitted infection will increase because of the availability of levonorgestrel over-the-counter. This availability may ultimately result in significant increases in cancer, infertility, and HIV/AIDS.”

The lead signer of the letter, Florida Republican David Weldon, is a physician. “Determining how the over-the-counter availability of levonorgestrel may affect adolescent sexual health is a reasonable and minimal public health question that we feel must be determined before any decision is made,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, this important public health information was not considered as part of the [FDA] review process.” 

The company that requested the OTC authorization, the Washington-based Women’s Capital Corp. (WCC) claims that their “Plan B” version, made by Gedeon Richter Ltd. of Hungary, is different from Mifepristone RU-486, which induces a miscarriage at any time after conception. By contrast, WCC Founder Sharon Camp claims that “Plan B” uses progestin, a hormone used in contraceptive pills, to interfere with ovulation or prevent fertilization. 

The F.D.A. also classifies the pill as a contraceptive. But Canadian Physicians For Life president Dr. Robert Pankratz countered that, in approximately 75 percent of cases, the MAP is abortifacient, in that it makes implantation of a newly formed foetus impossible and therefore, “[MAP] involves a direct attack on an already formed unique human life.” In the other 25 percent of cases, if the pill is taken before ovulation, ovulation may be inhibited. Dr. Pankratz has documented a troubling 10-fold increase in dangerous ectopic pregnancies caused by the use of the MAP. 

The Physicians For Life warns that easy access to the MAP will increase its use. “The 1998-99 annual report of Planned Parenthood Federation of America showed an 83.5% increase in ‘emergency contraception clients,’” the report says. 

The same Physicians For Life report also states “Manufacturers stress that the [MAP] is not intended for repetitive use but offer no realistic plan to prevent this. In Asia, repetitive [MAP] use (and health consequences) have become commonplace, and health authorities there have become concerned.” 

Read former LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

FDA Begins Debate on Availability of Morning-After Pill Tuesday

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