Friday, 25 February 2011

Drug Maker Wants Abortion Pill Available to Minors

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Plan BThe makers of the “Plan B” abortion pill want to broaden its reach to minors, and are asking the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to give the drug over-the-counter status to girls under 17 years old. As reported by FOX News, “Teva Pharmaceuticals, Plan B’s maker, submitted data from a study in which girls ages 11 to 16 used the drug to prove its effectiveness and safety. Girls under 17 currently need a doctor’s prescription to obtain the drug.”

How does Plan B work? Marie Hahnenberg of the American Life League explained that, like other “morning after” abortion drugs on the market, Plan B can alter the lining of a mother’s uterus “so that the newly formed baby cannot implant and thus dies.” In fact, Plan B’s own product information states that the drug “may inhibit implantation.” Warned Hahnenberg, “Women should not allow themselves to be misled by sales representatives for Plan B and Plan B One-Step, who claim that these products will not terminate an existing pregnancy.”

Officials at Teva argue that because their abortion pill must be used within three days after sexual intercourse in order for it to destroy the fertilized embryo and terminate the pregnancy, many of its potential users, including girls 17 and younger, would not have time to consult a physician and get a prescription for the “emergency contraceptive.”

“We believe it is important that we remove all the barriers to obtaining Plan B One-Step so that anyone who needs it can get it as quickly as possible,” Teva spokesman Denise Bradley said.

Industry experts say that it generally takes around ten months for the FDA to reclassify a drug from prescription to over-the-counter status, and according to FOX, “Supporters of the drug say the move is long overdue. After a court hearing to expand over-the-counter access for Plan B in November, Suzanne Novak, an attorney for the pro-choice Council for Reproductive Rights, said the politicization of the issue needed to end.”

Novak insisted that the scientific evidence lines up in favor of Plan B and FDA experts have agreed that the “emergency contraception has proven safe and effective to be sold over-the-counter to all ages.”

But critics, like Wendy Wright of the pro-family Concerned Women for America said opening the abortion drug to minors would essentially take parents and other concerned adult out of the equation.

“Parents should be very concerned that the FDA and the drug company are trying to sell this drug to minor girls without the parent’s knowledge or consent,” Wright told FOX News. She added that in a case in which “a minor girl would be seeking this drug, there needs to be an adult intervention. There needs to be a doctor involved, who can find out if this girl is being abused.”

Yahoo columnist Sheryl Young noted that while Plan B’s maker insists the pill does not induce abortion like the infamous drug RU-486, its directions nonetheless include a disclaimer that the user must not to take Plan B if she is already pregnant.

“What if a girl doesn’t know she’s pregnant?” wondered Young. “She might take Plan B and experience a drug-induced miscarriage or abortion.”

And what about if a girl is already pregnant and takes Plan B anyway? “Will she experience the same result as with RU486 — hemorrhaging, horrific pain, or possible death from septic blood poisoning due to un-expelled fetal tissue? asked Young. Even if a woman is not pregnant, several warning labels “indicate that Plan B can cause nausea, dizziness, abdominal pain, headache and fatigue,” wrote Young.

The bottom line is that Teva has one motivation in its push to get Plan B approved for over-the-counter sales to minors, and its has nothing to do with the welfare of young girls. It’s all about money and increased sales, a motivation with which the FDA seems to whole-heartedly embrace.

Concluded Young, “Abortion advocates, the makers of Plan B, and the FDA have absolutely no excuse for eliminating the age limit on this drug. It’s just another avenue to make more money off of frightened young girls.”

Photo: AP Images

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