by Steven Ertelt
August 29, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — As expected, groups on both sides of the abortion debate are taking drastically different approaches to the decision by the Food and Drug Administration late last week to postpone whether or not to sell the morning after pills over the counter.
Abortion advocates are decrying the postponement, saying the FDA is going back on its word.
"The Bush administration explicitly promised the U.S. Senate that the FDA would stop dragging its feet and issue a decision by September 1," NARAL said an in email to its members.
In July, Michael Leavitt, secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services, sent a letter to members of the U.S. Senate saying the FDA would make a decision by September. The letter came in response to a decision by leading abortion advocates to hold up the nomination of Lester Crawford as the FDA’s commissioner.
"American women have waited more than two years for President Bush’s FDA to decide whether women can purchase the morning-after pill," NARAL said. "How much longer do we have to wait?"
"By constantly delaying the decision, Bush’s FDA is allowing a small number of anti-birth control zealots to prescribe policy for women’s birth-control options," NARAL said Monday.
However, a group of pro-life doctors and OBGYNs said the FDA’s decision to not yet allow sales of the Plan B drug without a prescription was appropriate.
The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists said approval of the morning after pill for over the counter sales would be "bad medicine" and "a disaster for many women, especially teenagers."
The medical group echoed concerns Crawford laid out when he announced the indefinite postponement, saying that there is no way to enforce the requirement that teenagers under the age of 16 still be required to obtain the sometimes abortion-causing drugs with a prescription.
AAPLOG said claims that the morning after pill will reduce abortion and pregnancy rates are false and pointed to two studies showing that, including one in Scotland and another in San Francisco.
"Women in these studies were given the [pills] to take home and put on the nightstand for immediate availability after unprotected sex," AAPLOG explained. "But they had the same abortion rates and the same unintended pregnancy rates as a control group of women" who had to buy the drugs on their own through a doctor.
"This medication is a dangerous deception, since it encourages women to trust it for contraception, but fails to reliably deliver on that promise," the physicians group concluded.