The Bush administration relishes unplanned pregnancies – new evidence.

June 13, 2006 | By | 1 Reply More

Today’s Associated Press report on the deposition testimony a former FDA commissioner sheds further light on the FDA’s extended and shameful failure to approve “Plan B,” the morning after pill.  According to the recent testimony:

The Food and Drug Administration had intended to allow over-the-counter sales of Plan B last year but delayed the move while determining how to limit those sales to women 17 and older — a process that should have wrapped up by now, the agency’s former chief testified.

Former FDA commissioner Lester Crawford, in a sworn statement, said he had reserved the right to decide whether to loosen the sales restrictions on the prescription-only emergency contraceptive pills. His account of that unusual and perhaps unprecedented move, given in a deposition over a lawsuit against the FDA, confirmed earlier testimony given by two senior agency officials who said he’d shut them out of the decision-making process.

But Crawford said his Aug. 26, 2005, announcement that the agency was delaying its decision on Plan B wasn’t a move toward denying over-the-counter sales. Instead, it was a bid for time to work out how to enforce restricting nonprescription sales to women 17 and older. Girls 16 and younger would still need a prescription.

It is now more than two years since the FDA’s controversial decision denying Plan B emergency (EC) contraception over-the-counter status.  Why is it important that EC is available?  According to Planned Parenthood,

Emergency contraception pills contain hormones that reduce the risk of pregnancy if started within 120 hours of unprotected intercourse. The sooner EC is administered after unprotected sex, the better it works, making timely access critically important.

The FDA, stocked with Bush appointees, has refused to approve Plan B for over the counter status, contrary to the recommendations of virtually all major medical and health care organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.  Further, EC meets all of the FDA’s own requirements for over-the-counter status.  The FDA’s stalling was repugnant back in 2004 and it remains repugnant today.

Just to make clear:  Plan B is not about abortion.   It’s about preventing pregnancy.  Oh, I know there are people out there who work hard to confuse these two concepts, people who claim that a person causes an abortion if that person completely prevents an egg that might be fertilized from implanting in a uterus.  I’m a bit old-fashioned in my thinking, though.  I prefer to think that there can’t be an abortion unless there is first a pregnancy.  In my old-fashioned way of thinking, then, Plan B has nothing to do with abortions because Plan B prevents pregnancies. 

The above-described deposition testimony is further evidence that the official position of this administration is to encourage numerous unplanned pregnancies, especially among teenaged girls younger than 17.  Yes, this means that this administration wants to force raped women to carry their rapists’ babies, especially those women who lack easy access to a doctor.  Every year, an estimated 25,000 U.S. woman are impregnated by their rapists.  Ninety percent of these rape pregnancies can be prevented with the prompt use of the morning after pill. 
In light of the health care cuts authored by this administration, this administration’s unconscionable birth control policies will force unwanted babies on women without properly providing for the medical care of the women or the babies. 

If men were able to get pregnant, our government would have passed laws 30 years ago allowing Plan B to be sold out of vending machines in every supermarket, every tattoo shop, and every restaurant or tavern.  If men could get pregnant, even Justice Scalia would have been able to latch onto that penumbra of Constitutional rights guaranteeing men’s access to the a male version of Plan B. It would just be that obvious.


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Category: American Culture, Politics, Reproductive Rights, Sex

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Jason Rayl says:

    The whole abortion issue, for me, is a non-issue in a legalistic sense. To the anti-abortionist, this: Does a woman have a right to NOT be pregnant? (It may be a silly way to state it, but insist on the premise.) If she has a right not to be pregnant before she is pregnant, how then does that right VANISH when she is?

    Secondly, we all take for granted the right to be safe and secure in our homes. If, by some fluke, a drunk managed to wander into our house at three in the morning and we shot him as an intruder, we would consider this self-defense–or, as we put it, justifiable homicide. We reserve the right to invite into our homes who we choose and bar those–sometimes employing up to and including lethal force–we do not invite. To my mind, a woman's womb is even more private than her home. For those insisting that a fetus is a person, then abortion is justifiable homicide.

    Thirdly, this entire question of age limits. There's something reasonable about this. After all, we do not grant the privilege to drive to those under 16. We take it as a given that the vote is reserved to those 18 and older. Likewise, we limit drinking to 21 and older.

    But in each of these instances there is a clear demarcation of what is being granted and under what conditions. A driver's license is, in this sense, a rite of passage emblem. If we wanted to cut back on teens having sex, then we should stop being so vague about it. We should make it clear that under, say, 17 you may not. But over 17, party on, and here is your license. This would then become a goal to reach, a social marker, and a certification of another step on the road to adulthood.

    This would, of course, have to be backed up by community services–like driver's, er, lover's ed, readily-available clinics, a cessation of the moralistic censure of those around said teen.

    Fourthly, I think state policies toward marriage–all of them, from joint tax returns to tax deductions for babies to whatever–should be abolished. Such things can be entered into upon mutual agreement through legal instrument, like making out a will, but NOT automatically bestowed. Marriage should be an institution individuals (gender not specified) may enter into if they wish, but knock off this backbone of community crap. The law should not be used to make associations conform to a preferred condition.

    Of course, all this is moot, since the whole point of all these rightwing shenanigans is to keep sex smutty and control people through guilt and/or public censure. And soince women get pregnant, they can be "herded" into desired roles by the people controlling the institutions.


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