by Steven Ertelt
October 3, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A Utah doctor who was a member of a Food and Drug Administration’s advisory panel says the morning after pill will not reduce the number of abortions and pregnancies that its supports claim it will do. He also indicated that the Plan B drug can work as an abortion agent in certain circumstances.
Dr. Joseph Stanford, associate professor of family and preventative medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine, said the morning after pill won’t be as effective as its maker claims.
He told the Deseret News that studies he and fellow researchers have done show a lower effectiveness rate than the 89 percent Barr Laboratories claims.
"We did more a precise meta-analysis that shows it’s effective only 72 percent of the time, and even that number is optimistic," he indicated.
Stanford explained that earlier studies, which gave Barr its 89 percent figure, did not take into account normal variations in the timing of ovulation.
He also told the newspaper that studies from Europe, China and the United States show that the morning after pill does not reduce abortions. In fact, new abortion figures in England and Scotland show that abortions have reached their highest point ever despite over the counter sales of Plan B.
"In all cases, they found there was no effect on abortion rates and unintended pregnancy rates," he says.
Stanford also told the Deseret News that the Plan B drug can act as an "abortifacient" by preventing implantation of a unique human being and killing him or her before the rest of the pregnancy process begins.
He hopes that doctors will alert patients that the drug may cause an abortion in some instances.
And, since the FDA has approved the drug for over the counter sales without a prescription, Stanford says he’s concerned about how informed consent is only "marginally" addressed in the instructions in the packaging.
"It’s the way that it’s phrased, to minimize the issue," he adds, referring to the phrase "when a fertilized egg implants" on the instructions.
The Deseret News also reported on a medical lecture that took place in Salt Lake City last week in which one unnamed doctor worried the makers of the drug may be overstating its effectiveness and "taking advantage of women in a vulnerable situation."
When the FDA advisory panel voted 23 to 4 in 2003, he was one of the four physicians who voted against allowing over the counter sales of the morning after pill. He called the hearings on it "a mix of science, theater and politics."