Plan “B” Moves Over the Counter
The Guardian Express reported weeks ago that the FDA might approve the Plan “B” contraceptive, and allow it to be purchased without a prescription. Today it was announced that the FDA has given its approval. Women age 15 or older will be allowed to purchase the pills. The labeling on the product will read: “Not for sale to those under 15 years of age *proof of age required* not for sale where age cannot be verified.” Added to the bar code will be a prompt for the cashier to check identification.
The Plan “B” pill is not to be confused with the so called “morning after pill”. The “morning after pill” aborts a pregnancy. The Plan “B” is designed for use if no other form of contraceptive was used. It stops ovulation, and therefore conception.
“Research has shown that access to emergency contraceptive products has the potential to further decrease the rate of unintended pregnancies in the United States,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “The data reviewed by the agency demonstrated that women 15 years of age and older were able to understand how Plan B One-Step works, how to use it properly, and that it does not prevent the transmission of a sexually transmitted disease.”
The group Concerned Women for America charged that health officials were putting politics and so-called progress ahead of the health of children as well as women.
“It makes no sense that kids need parental permission to take aspirin at school, but they’re free to buy and administer Plan B,” Penny Nance, CEO and president of CWA, said in a statement.
The AMA says that nearly half of the pregnancies occurring in the United States are unwanted, creating mental stress, and financial difficulty.
The FDA had been prepared to release the drug in 2011, but Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the scientists. She had concerns that “an eleven year old could walk into the pharmacy and buy the pregnancy preventing medication”. President Obama agreed with her position, and is reported to remain so.
Many called the action by Sebelius a pre-election strategy for Mr. Obama’s 2012 re-election.
The FDA said it believes a 15 year old girl is able to understand how the pill works, and use it with careful consideration. They further explained that it is not an abortion pill, as claimed by opposition to its sales. It prevents fertilization of the egg, which is the initiation of a pregnancy. If a woman is already pregnant, the drug has no effect at all.
Teva, the drug’s manufacturer, said it is willing to educate consumers, pharmacists, and health care workers regarding the product’s new status. It also said it is willing to perform audits ensuring the age limit is adhered to.
Columnist-The Guardian Express