Approve Plan B now.Byline: The Register-Guard
The legitimate scientific and medical issues associated with allowing over-the-counter sales of the Plan B emergency contraceptive have already been decided. After an exhaustive review, a Food and Drug Administration expert advisory panel voted 23-4 last December to recommend making emergency contraception Emergency Contraception Definition
Emergency contraception or emergency birth control uses either emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) or a Copper-T intrauterine device (IUD) to help prevent pregnancy following unprotected vaginal intercourse. available to women without a prescription.
But the FDA FDA
Food and Drug Administration
n.pr See Food and Drug Administration.
n.pr the abbreviation for the Food and Drug Administration. delayed implementing the decision in February after a protest by 49 congressional abortion opponents and social conservatives who view pregnancy as a tough-luck punishment for illicit sex. Now, a so-called compromise is reportedly being considered that would set a minimum age for purchasers and keep the drug behind drugstore counters so pharmacists would control sales.
The compromise is bogus and should be rejected. The FDA should find the backbone to tell these congressional prudes to actually examine the research. If they did, here's what they'd find:
The data overwhelmingly demonstrate that emergency contraception is safe and effective when available without a prescription. We're not talking about tests with lab rats. Emergency contraception using the same formula sold in the U.S. under the brand name Plan B (``when Plan A fails, switch to Plan B'') is already available without prescription in 25 countries. Thousands of women have participated in safety and efficacy studies.
Women, including teenagers, did not become wantonly promiscuous in these 25 countries once they had nonprescription non·pre·scrip·tion
Sold legally without a physician's prescription; over-the-counter. access to emergency contraception. There was, in fact, no change in the usual sexual behavior sexual behavior A person's sexual practices–ie, whether he/she engages in heterosexual or homosexual activity. See Sex life, Sexual life. or contraceptive practices of Plan B users. Furthermore, studies of sexually active young women and adolescents revealed no increase in the rate of unprotected sex after emergency contraception became available, another one of the baloney issues raised by congressional critics.
The most important thing to remember about Plan B is that it is not an abortion pill abortion pill See Contragestive, Oral contraceptive, RU-486. . It does not induce "chemical abortions," as the anti-abortion American Life League One of the largest pro-life organizations in the United States, according to their website, American Life League, or ALL, opposes all forms of abortion, birth control, embryonic stem cell research, and euthanasia. has charged. Plan B is unrelated to Mifeprex, or RU-486. Plan B can prevent a pregnancy from starting - that's what it's designed to do - but it has no effect on one that is already under way.
Here's how Plan B works: It's like an extra-strength birth control pill birth control pill
See oral contraceptive.
birth control pill Oral contraceptive, see there . It uses a form of the synthetic hormone progestin progestin /pro·ges·tin/ (-jes´tin) progestational agent.
1. A natural or synthetic progestational substance that mimics some or all of the actions of progesterone. , called levonorgestrel levonorgestrel /le·vo·nor·ges·trel/ (-nor-jes´trel) the levorotatory form of norgestrel; used as an oral or subdermal contraceptive.
n. , to block ovulation ovulation /ovu·la·tion/ (ov?u-la´shun) the discharge of a secondary oocyte from a graafian follicle.ov´ulatory
The discharge of an ovum from the ovary. and fertilization of the egg. If taken within 24 hours of unprotected intercourse, it can reduce the risk of pregnancy by 95 percent. That's why it's vitally important to avoid anything that would delay or discourage women who need access to emergency contraception.
The only purpose for providing nonprescription access to Plan B is to prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce the need for induced abortions. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in four American women are hospitalized at least once before delivery during their pregnancy for complications ranging from premature labor to pre-eclampsia. Unintended pregnancy is also associated with low birth weight babies, birth defects and social and economic hardships - particularly for young women.
Research indicates that widespread availability of Plan B could prevent up to 1.7 million unintended pregnancies and 800,000 abortions a year in the United States. Responsible anti-abortion organizations should be camped out on the FDA's steps insisting that it follow the advisory panel's recommendation to the letter - immediately.