by Steven Ertelt
September 1, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Leading abortion advocates want a U.S. Senate committee to hold hearings to look into why the Food and Drug Administration postponed a decision on whether to allow the morning after pill to be sold over the counter. The lawmakers allege politics and not policy played a larger role in the decision.
Democrat Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Patty Murray of Washington in June blocked a full Senate vote on Lester Crawford’s nomination for commissioner of the agency.
However, the senators in July agreed to lift their holds after HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt sent a letter to Sen. Mike Enzi, a Wyoming Republican who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
The letter said the FDA would make a decision on the morning after pill by September 1.
Leavitt has defended the FDA’s decision saying he promised the FDA would have word about what it would do, not a final yes or no decision.
Clinton and Murray say the FDA decision was a non-decision and have renewed their request for Enzi to hold a hearing on the delay.
"A delay is not a decision, and no amount of semantics can change that," Clinton and Murray wrote. "It is time for the FDA to stop playing games with the health and well-being of millions of American women."
Enzi spokesperson Craig Orfield told Congressional Quarterly that Enzi is reviewing the request and will consider holding a hearing. Orfield said Enzi had expected "a firm decision" by FDA on Plan B not a delay.
Meanwhile, a group of House Democrats, including pro-abortion House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, sent a letter to President Bush accusing the FDA of bowing to "political influence" on its decision.
Dr. Susan Crockett, a Texas obstetrician and gynecologist, told the Los Angeles Times the FDA was right to delay the decision because of concerns about legal policy and enforcement of selling the drug to women but not young teenagers.
"We are being faced with … a new way of distributing a prescription medication," said Crockett, a former member of the FDA’s reproductive drugs panel. "It is worth going through the process of setting it up right."
Crockett told the Times she hopes the drug stays as a prescription-only one.
"I have more of a concern about the public health aspects," she said. "As a gynecologist, I see good reasons for it to stay as a prescription drug so I get to see my patients, and they get to see me, and they are well taken care of."