Congressional Bill Would Force FDA to Decide Morning After Pill Status

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 4, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Congressional Bill Would Force FDA to Decide Morning After Pill Status Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 4, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Abortion advocates in Congress have introduced new legislation that would force the Food and Drug Administration to determine whether the morning after pill can be sold to women without a prescription.

The federal agency has repeatedly postponed deciding on a request from Barr Pharmaceuticals to allow the Plan B drugs, which sometimes cause an abortion, to be sold at pharmacies to women over 16 without first having a doctor’s visit.

Under the measure, the drugs would be approved for over the counter sale 30 days after Congress approves it until the agency makes a final decision.

However, with Congress bogged down by spending bills, hurricane relief, and the Samuel Alito nomination, there may not be any consideration of it until after January 1. The sponsors also have no guarantee the Republican leadership will allow a vote on it or that it would be approved.

"Some of the FDA’s own scientists have charged that politics, not science, is behind the FDA’s actions," the sponsors said in a press statement about their bill, submitted Thursday.

Some of the sponsors include leading abortion advocates such as Democratic Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Joseph Crowley of New York, Jay Inslee of Washington, and Republican Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut.

The FDA has been considering Barr’s proposal for more than two years. An advisory panel initially recommended over the counter approve but FDA officials rejected it saying Barr did not provide enough research on the drug’s effects on younger teenagers.

Barr came back with a revised proposal to sell the drug only to women over the age of 16. Pro-life groups say that will be difficult to enforce and they point to studies showing the drug is not used often even if given to women and that it doesn’t reduce abortions.

In August, then-FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford indefinitely postponed a decision on the proposal and abortion advocates cried foul. Crawford resigned from his position in September and claims the morning after pill debate had nothing to do with it.