by Steven Ertelt
August 28, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Two leading organizations for pro-life physicians have come out against the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to allow over the counter sales of the morning after pill to anyone above the age of 18. They call the decision dangerous for women and say there will be no reduction in abortions or unplanned pregnancies.
Elizabeth Shadigian, M.D., president of the American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and a professor at the University of Michigan, says the morning after pill won’t have the intended effect abortion advocates claim.
"Despite assurances that this decision will lead to a reduction in unintended pregnancies and abortions in the United States, actual data demonstrate that even providing women free ’emergency contraception’ on hand at home has not made a difference in the unintended pregnancy or abortion rates of women," she said.
Shadigan said she worries that there will be an increase in sexually transmitted diseases as a result of greater promotion and access to the drug. That’s because some women and couples may rely on the Plan B pill exclusively for birth control purposes even though it offers no protection against the diseases.
As a result, it will damage women’s reproductive and overall health.
"Many women will bypass the sexually transmitted disease testing they would normally receive at the physician’s office," she said in a statement LifeNews.com obtained.
"These infections and others will go undiagnosed and untreated, leading to infertility, chronic pelvic pain, or even cancer," she said.
In some cases, Shadigan explained, the drug could put women’s life in danger.
"Women using Plan B who do conceive have at least 3 times the risk of potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy. They will be taking the drug without physician follow-up," she said.
"How will they know when their life may be in jeopardy from a tubal pregnancy without physician involvement? They won’t as bleeding and abdominal pain are symptoms of both a normal menstrual period and of a rupturing ectopic pregnancy," Shadigan explained.
Shadigan said that the FDA doesn’t address the concerns pro-life advocates have about the drug possibly working in limited cases as an abortion agent.
"The FDA labeling states that the medication will not abort an implanted pregnancy, but allows that it may stop implantation of a fertilized egg (an embryo)," she said.
"We object to this deceptive doublespeak. Terminating a human embryo is abortion, whether before or after its implantation into the uterus," Shadigan added. "Adequate informed consent dictates that the woman using this medication be plainly informed of this abortifacient potential."
Meanwhile, the 17,000-member Christian Medical Association says the drug should remain prescription-only.
"Politicians are trying to push FDA approval through with strong-arm tactics that have no place in evaluations of women’s health and safety," CMA Executive Director Dr. David Stevens said.
"We saw these same tactics deployed in the previous administration, when then-President Clinton’s first official act was to order the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to coordinate the marketing of the dangerous abortion drug RU-486," he said.
Stevens said it made no sense to allow sales over the counter of the morning after pill but require a prescription for birth control pills.
"It makes no medical sense to offer over-the-counter access to a powerful hormonal drug when lower doses of those hormones in contraceptives require a physician’s prescription," Stevens observed.
Stevens agreed with Shadigan about the dangers to women’s health by selling the Plan B pills without a physician’s visit.
"Removing the so-called ‘morning-after pill’ from the protection of a doctor’s prescription removes women from the protection of medical exams and counsel," he said.
"Providing a contraceptive over the counter allows women to bypass the system that will give them the best care, provide sexual counseling, and diagnose and help prevent sexually related diseases," Stevens added.
Stevens also agreed that the drug will do nothing to lower abortion or unintended pregnancy rates.
He said peer-reviewed studies published in Contraception and the Journal of American Medical Association showed neither happened.