Pro-Life Groups Upset Judge Forces FDA to Allow Morning After Pill Sales to Minors
by Steven Ertelt
March 24, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Several national pro-life groups are disappointed by the decision a federal judge has handed down forcing the FDA to open up sales of the morning after pill to minors. They say the ruling invites further abuse of the Plan B drug and could put teen girls at risk to sexual predators.
A federal court on Monday ordered the Food and Drug Administration to reconsider its decision preventing minors from purchasing the morning after pill without a prescription.
When the FDA made the Plan B drug available over the counter, it prohibited such sales to people under the age of 18.
Yesterday, District Judge Edward R. Korman ordered the FDA to make the drug available to women as young as 17 within the next 30 days and to consider reversing its entire decision on selling the morning after pill to minors.
Charmaine Yoest, the president of Americans United for Life, said it was wrong for the judge to unilaterally give girls unrestricted, over-the-counter access to Plan B and she lamented the lack of parental involvement.
Given legitimate concerns about the safety of self-medicating with Plan B, it is incomprehensible that we would allow a minor to walk into any pharmacy and obtain this drug without medical oversight or parental involvement," she told LifeNews.com.
Yoest is also concerned that the ruling may stand without any legal challenge.
"The Obama Administration is widely expected to welcome the ruling and not pursue a meaningful appeal in the case," she said.
The pro-life leader is also concerned that the ruling will not permit the FDA to undertake another internal review of the drugs safety record or to receive evidence on the increased need to protect minors from dangerous medications and even sexual abuse.
Meanwhile, Chris Gacek, a senior fellow for regulatory affairs for the Family Research Council, also underscored the lack of parental involvement in minors getting the high dosage birth control pill.
"This ruling jeopardizes girls’ health and the ability of parents to care for their daughters’ physical and emotional well-being," he said. "Now some minor girls will be able to obtain this drug without any guidance from a doctor or and without any parental supervision."
"We lack scientific studies on the long-term effects of Plan B with respect to high dosage and repeated use in both women and adolescents," he added.
Gacek pointed out the problems of allowing minors to purchase the drug — noting that they could be pressured by an adult who subjected them to sexual abuse to prevent a pregnancy from occurring that would expose their illegal actions.
"There is a real danger that Plan B may be given to women, especially sexually abused women and minors, under coercion or without their consent," he said. "Interaction with medical professionals is a major screening and defense mechanism for victims of sexual abuse."
"The availability of Plan B over-the-counter also bypasses the routine medical care of sexually active girls and women, which is important to allow screening for other health conditions, including sexually transmitted diseases," he continued.
Gacek noted that abortion advocates favor the morning after pill because they claim it will reduce abortions, but he pointed out that statistics from other nations show Plan B did not reduce abortion figures.
In his ruling, Korman sided with abortion advocates who claimed the FDA didn’t follow its normal protocols when making the decision.
Korman said the "record is clear that the FDA’s course of conduct regarding Plan B departed in significant ways from the agency’s normal procedures regarding similar applications to switch a drug from prescription to non-prescription use."
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