FDA Will Decide on OTC Sales of Morning After Pill by September

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 18, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

FDA Will Decide on OTC Sales of Morning After Pill by September

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 18, 2005

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Food and Drug Administration has decided it will make a decision in September whether the sometimes abortion-causing morning after pill should be allowed to be sold to women over the age of sixteen without a doctor’s visit. The agency rejected a previous request to sell the drug over the counter to all women, teenage or otherwise.

Michael Leavitt, secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services, sent a letter to members of the U.S. Senate last week informing them of the timeframe. The letter stems from a decision by leading abortion advocates to hold up the nomination of Lester Crawford as the FDA’s commissioner because of the agency’s delay in approving sales of the drug.

Democrats Patty Murray of Washington and Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York applauded the deadline for a decision.

"After more than two years of waiting, American consumers and American women will finally get an answer," the two abortion advocates said.

"We have been clear all along that our hold on this nomination is about one thing only: the FDA’s failure to provide an answer on Plan B,” the senators added.

An FDA advisory committee voted 24-3 in December 2003 to allow sales of the Plan B drug over the counter, but FDA officials went against the recommendation because Barr Laboratories, maker of the drug, failed to provide sufficient information about its affect on teenagers.

Barr submitted a revised application for OTC sales, seeking to limit sales of the morning after pills to women over 16 years of age.

Pro-life groups oppose the drug because it can sometimes cause an abortion of a newly conceived unborn child by preventing its implantation into the mother’s uterus. They also worry the drug causes teens and young adults to engage in risky sex because it offers no protection against sexually transmitted diseases.

A recent study, conducted by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco, that found 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, 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.

"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," Cathy Cleaver Ruse, speaking for the nation’s Catholic bishops, added.