FDA Calls Pro-Life Groups, Planned Parenthood for Morning After Pill Input

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 18, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

FDA Calls Pro-Life Groups, Planned Parenthood for Morning After Pill Input Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 18, 2006

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — For last-minute input before it makes a final decision on over the counter sales of the morning after pill, the Food and Drug Administration has contacted pro-life groups and Planned Parenthood. The calls come just a week after the agency announced a deal with the drug’s maker to sell it through pharmacies.

Concerned Women for America is one of the leading groups that has given the FDA information about why it shouldn’t approve the Plan B drug for sales without a doctor’s visit.

Wendy Wright, the group’s president, was one of the people the FDA called.

"I gave them an earful,” she told the Associated Press, adding that she doesn’t think the agency gave serious consideration to her organizations initial information.

"It is very late in the game and that adds to our fury over this,” Wright said.

FDA spokeswoman Susan Bro told AP that the agency has a responsibility to contact leading supporters and opponents to get their input before making a final decision.

"We always reach out to third-party groups with virtually every decision we make, especially with decisions that have been difficult and complex and not always clear consensus,” Bro said.

Wright has previously pointed out that the morning after pill has failed to reduce the number of abortions in the way abortion advocates claim it would.

She points to Scotland, which made the morning-after pill nonprescription in 1999. In 2005, Scotland reported its highest number of abortions since abortion was legalized in 1967.

In England, abortions increased from 176,000 in 2002 to 185,400 in 2004. In four years, chlamydia went up 76 percent. Gonorrhea went up 55 percent. Syphilis went up 54 percent. Genital warts went up 20 percent.

Wright has also said that she doesn’t trust the FDA to safeguard women’s health since the agency has done nothing to restrict sales of the abortion drug RU 486. It’s caused the deaths of seven women in the United States and more than 900 women reported having medical problems after taking the drug — some of which required hospitalizations, emergency surgery or blood transfusions.

"Even after the deaths of numerous women, the FDA has not enforced its restrictions. Barr Pharmaceuticals has no incentive to reduce its sales and no means to penalize violators," Wright has said.

"Easy access to the morning-after pill would be harmful to women and girls," she added.

Acting FDA commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach said last week that he had entered into a verbal agreement with Barr to sell the morning after pill to women over the age of 18 without a prescription.

Teenagers would still have to visit a physician to get a prescription for the drug, but CWA and other groups opposed to the morning after pill say that teens can get their parents, older siblings, or older friends to purchase the drug for them.

That arrangement has led CWA and other pro-life groups to oppose von Eschenbach’s nomination to become the official commissioner.