by Steven Ertelt
January 7, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Pointing to a recent study showing that the morning after pill fails to reduce the pregnancy rate, pro-life groups say the Food and Drug Administration should not approve a request by the drug’s maker for over the counter sales.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco, found that that increased access to the "morning after" pill did not lower pregnancy rates, because many women did not use the pills.
Wendy Wright, of Concerned Women for America, testified at the FDA Advisory Committee hearing in December 2003 when the morning-after pill was under review for over-the-counter status. She said the study backs up the concerns she and other pro-life groups demonstrated.
In addition to no change in the pregnancy rates, Wright said the study showed "easy access to the drug increases sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates," a situation she called "alarming."
"Furthermore, studies show that the abortion rate is unaffected, and in some cases has increased," she explained.
Meanwhile, Cathy Cleaver Ruse, speaking for the nation’s Catholic bishops, said that the study, co-authored by a Planned Parenthood doctor, "blows the lid off the main argument for putting morning after pills on the drugstore shelf."
"Proponents have repeatedly claimed that making the drug available without a prescription would reduce abortion numbers by as many as half; now their own study debunks that claim," Ruse said.
The FDA previously denied an application from pill maker Barr Labratories to sell the so-called emergency contraception over the counter. It was deniedin part because Barr failed to show how the drug would affect teens.
Barr has submitted a new application asking the FDA to approve over the counter sales to women over the age of 16, but requiring under-16-year-olds to have a prescription.
"As we all know from alcohol and tobacco sales, the person who would buy the drug is not necessarily the person who would consume it," Wright said, warning of potential problems.
"There would be no way to enforce this marketing scheme, and would put women and girls at risk of unscrupulous people who could slip the drug to them without their knowledge or consent," Wright added.
The FDA is expected to decide on the new application by January 22, the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
Related web sites:
Concerned Women for America – https://www.cwfa.org