FDA Prepares Sell-Out on MAP

Steven Mosher
By Joseph A. D'Agostino
PRI Weekly Briefing
11 August 2006
Vol. 8, No. 31
Reproduced with Permission

After resisting for years feminists determined to make high-dosage steroids available to women and girls without a prescription, it seems that the Bush Administration is about to cave in to political pressure and make the morning-after pill (MAP) accessible over the counter to those over 18. Not only will this result in the deaths of more unborn children since MAP often acts after conception, but it will seriously harm the health of women and girls who will use the now-easy-to-get MAP repeatedly. The FDA did not officially announce its decision this week, but statements from it and Barr Laboratories, the makers of the "Plan B" brand of MAP, clearly indicate the FDA's intention to allow OTC distribution of MAP.

No one, pro-life or pro-abortion, pro-family or pro-contraception, should favor this change. The FDA's own experts, when MAP was approved for prescription-only sales, said that repeated use could have serious health effects on women and girls. MAP should only be used very rarely, in an emergency (thus the term "emergency contraception," even though the latter word of that term is dishonest). By making MAP prescription-only, the FDA required women and girls to go through a doctor and pharmacist who would query their patient's health history and steer them away from MAP if medically indicated.

This safeguard will soon be gone. Anyone over 18 will be able to walk into a grocery store or pharmacy and buy MAP any time he or she pleases, no questions asked. Can anyone doubt that many young women will end up using MAP over and over? The FDA's experts warned of serious health consequences from such use, but could not provide solid examples since there have been no studies of repeated MAP use. No one knows what the repeated dosing with these powerful steroids might do to women's bodies. Many women, particularly college co-eds, are likely about to find out.

If history is any guide, disastrous health effects won't make any difference once MAP is distributed over the counter. After all, the Clinton Administration rushed the prescription-only approval of the abortion pill, RU-486, and with its fatal side effects, it has been killing mothers at ten times the rate that surgical abortion does. Yet feminists and other so-called women's advocates don't want RU-486's approval revoked.

Bush's nominee for FDA Commissioner, Acting Commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, recently announced the re-opening of the case for OTC MAP after radically pro-abortion senators such as Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y.) put a hold on his nomination. The message from Clinton et al was clear: Approve OTC MAP or no permanent appointment for you. It seems von Eschenbach is complying.

The debate over OTC MAP continues to be surrounded by obvious lies. Once is that MAP is contraception, not abortion. But scientists agree that MAP often stops an already-conceived child from implanting, making it something other than contraception—and something that kills. Another obvious lie: MAP is safe for the woman using it. Yes, the FDA's experts concluded that MAP is safe, but no one has studied the effects of repeated use, and the FDA's experts warned that repeated use could be seriously harmful.

Yet another lie is that MAP will only be accessible to adult women over the counter. Anyone possessing passing familiarity with American society knows that young teenagers have easy access to cigarettes and alcohol, which are supposed to be sold only to adults. Why should anyone think MAP will be different?

Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman often provides an excellent summary of all the lies of the left. In a typically dishonest column August 10, she not only claimed that MAP is contraception that prevents abortion and thus pro-lifers as well as pro-abortionists should favor it, but she condemns "the truly bizarre idea offered by opponents such as the Concerned Women for America, that a predator or rapist could ‘buy the drug in order to cover up his abuse.'" Goodman ridicules this very likely proposition.

As we wrote just last week, many underage girls are having relations with adult boyfriends. These men, guilty of statutory rape, often transport their victims for abortions, which is one reason why the Child Custody Protection Act is needed. Soon, MAP will be as near as the corner drugstore, and who can doubt these men will buy it and pressure their young teen girlfriends to take it repeatedly, whenever standard "protection" was not used or failed? After all, these fellows haven't exactly demonstrated their great concern for the well-being of the fair sex, have they?

And how old are these guys? Men 25 or older sire more children of school-age California girls than do boys, according to congressional testimony from Professor Teresa Stanton Collett of the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minnesota. Nationally, two-thirds of teen mothers have boyfriends over 20. And among California girls 15 or younger who give birth, the boyfriends are usually 6 to 7 years older. That's right—the father of a 15-year-old's child is usually at least 21. Thanks to Hillary Clinton and a craven FDA, he will soon be able to legally pick up a package of MAP to go with the 12-pack he will use to get his teen girlfriend drunk.

"Politicians are trying to push FDA approval through with strong-arm tactics that have no place in evaluations of women's health and safety. . .," Christian Medical Association (CMA) Executive Director Dr. David Stevens said today. "This move by the FDA appears to be based on political expedience and ideology rather than science. It makes no medical sense to offer over-the-counter access to a powerful hormonal drug when lower doses of those hormones in contraceptives require a physician's prescription."

There is still hope that von Eschenbach will make the right decision.