FDA Director Tells Congress: Morning After Pill Decision Not Political

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 17, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

FDA Director Tells Congress: Morning After Pill Decision Not Political Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 17, 2006

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Andrew Von Eschenbach, the acting director of the Food and Drug administration, told abortion advocates in Congress on Thursday that the agency’s decision to delay approval of over the counter sales of the morning after pill is not a political decision.

Von Eschenbach spoke during a meeting of a House appropriations subcommittee to discuss the agency’s budget. However, pro-abortion Democrats on the panel strongly questioned him on delaying a decision on the Plan B drugs, which can sometimes cause an abortion.

Rep. Sam Farr, a California Democrat, claimed, "We know there is quite a bit of politics going on here."

According to an AP report, Von Eschenbach said he wasn’t sure when the agency would hand down its decision on the request to sell the pills without a prescription.

"That process will be carried out in the appropriate fashion," he said.

He repeated the reason given by other FDA officials — that the agency is confronting a new set of issues because Barr Labs, the maker of the drug, wants to sell the drug over the counter but only to women above the age of 16.

The FDA has said this request presents unusual enforcement questions by having the drug be sold over the counter to most women but remaining a prescription-only drug for younger teens.

The FDA denied Barr’s initial request to make the drug available over the counter to all women and teens because the company failed to provide enough information about how the drug affects teenagers.

In December, a leading expert on the morning after pill admitted that "real world" experience of easy access to the drug has not reduced the numbers of pregnancies or abortions.

Kirsten Moore, president and CEO of Reproductive Health Technologies Project, said there is no evidence that easy access to the morning-after pill reduces pregnancies or abortions, as pro-abortion groups have claimed.

The claim has been a rallying point for abortion advocates.

"I think it’s an honest question, the experts had estimated that we would see a drop by up to half in the rates of unintended pregnancy and the rates of abortion. And in fact in the real world we’re not seeing that," Moore said.

Wendy Wright, the executive vice-president of Concerned Women for America, said Moore’s admission that the Plan B drugs don’t reduce abortion or pregnancy rates "knocks the legs out from the hard-charging coalition intent on making this drug as easy to get as toothpaste."

"The claim that pregnancies and abortions would reduce by half is based not on science or fact, but ‘faith’ with no substance in reality," Wright explained.