by Steven Ertelt
August 21, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — In a Monday morning press conference with reporters, President Bush said he favored keeping the morning after pill a prescription only drug for teenagers. He said he supported acting FDA commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach’s decision to allow women over the age of 18 to purchase the drug over the counter.
The president said that federal rules "ought to require a prescription for minors" to obtain the Plan B drug, which may possibly cause an abortion in limited circumstances.
Saying "I support Andy’s decision," the president indicated he backed a deal von Eschenbach reached with Barr Laboratories to sell the drug without a prescription only to women over 18.
Barr had initially requested selling it to all women and teenagers and later submitted a revised request to sell it to women over age 16 after the FDA said it didn’t provide enough research as to how the drug affected teenagers.
Americans are split on whether the morning after pill should be sold over the counter.
A pew Research poll conducted earlier this month found 48 percent of Americans support over the counter sales while 41 percent say the Plan B drug should be prescription-only.
Pro-life advocates, Republicans, black Protestants and evangelicals generally opposed over the counter sales while Democrats, white mainline Protestants, and abortion advocates supported it. Catholics were split, according to the poll.
The FDA called pro-life groups and Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business, at the end of last week for last-minute input before making its final decision.
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, 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.
Some pro-life groups, including CWA, oppose von Eschenbach’s nomination to become the FDA’s commissioner.