Pro-Life Doctors Group Wants FDA to Halt "Morning-After" Pill Sales

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 29, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Doctors Group Wants FDA to Halt "Morning-After" Pill Sales

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
January 29, 2004

Washington, DC ( — A national physicians group is issuing a call to action to the Food and Drug Administration saying it should disapprove the over-the-counter sale of the so-called "morning-after pill," also known as "emergency contraception."

If the drugs, which sometimes act as an abortifacient, are sold without a doctor’s approval, "It is likely that many women, particularly young women, would suffer physical consequences," said Dr. Gene Rudd, associate executive director of the Christian Medical Association.

"These high doses of hormones have not been adequately tested for their effect on teenagers, yet teenagers are a prime market for the drugs," Rudd said.

Rudd believes that the over-the-counter sale of EC would expose teenagers to an unnecessary health risk. He adds that the drug could also serve to promote risky sexual behavior.

"Over-the-counter distribution without a physician’s counsel will also likely create a false sense of security, encouraging some couples to engage in high-risk sexual behavior with the expectation that the pill will routinely eliminate the consequences," Rudd said.

"The use studies with this drug suggest that many will use this as a primary method of birth control, yet the drug has not been adequately tested for long-term or frequent use." In addition, users might take EC not realizing that it could lead to a chemical abortion.

"While many physicians realize that the drug has the potential to terminate the life of a human embryo, many patients do not. Because such views are important to a sizable number of patients, they should be important to every health care provider and drug manufacturer," Rudd said.

Women deserve to know the dangerous effects of the drug, Rudd added.

"For the many women who hold to the traditional scientific view that human life begins at fertilization, such withholding of information is an abuse of informed consent, which is a crucial medical protection for patients," Rudd said.

The Christian Medical Association’s statement comes after a group of 49 pro-life members of Congress wrote a letter to President George W. Bush, asking him to direct the FDA to prevent the "morning after pill" from being sold from store shelves.

Rep. Dave Weldon, A Florida Congressman who is a doctor by profession, wrote, "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."

Last month, an FDA panel recommended that the FDA allow the drug to be sold without a prescription.

The drug, also known as Plan B, can prevent the implantation of an unborn baby into the uterus following fertilization. As a result, the woman’s body artificially rejects the pregnancy and the unborn child is killed.

A final decision by the FDA could come at any time.

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