Birth Control Archive

August 2006: Birth Control

FDA Reopens Debate on Over-the-Counter “Morning After Pill” 

Manufacturer Markets Condoms Designed for 13-16 Year-olds

FDA REOPENS DEBATE ON OVER-THE-COUNTER "MORNING AFTER PILL". The United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering once again to allow over-the-counter sales of the abortifacient morning-after pill, “Plan B”, just a day before the Senate begins confirmation hearings over Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, President Bush’s nominee to head the FDA.

Early Monday, the FDA contacted Barr Laboratories Inc., the  manufacturer of the “emergency contraceptive” Plan B, indicating that it wanted to meet within seven days to discuss new steps the company must take in order to sell the abortifacient without a prescription.

Last August, the FDA denied Barr Laboratories Inc. a permit to sell Plan B over the counter for the reason that the FDA has no mechanism for restricting the drug’s availability to adults over 18. 

The FDA’s renewed consideration of giving the morning-after pill over the counter status has outraged Concerned Women for America (CWA) which has criticized the FDA, which it says “consistently puts women second to politics”. In its press release CWA criticized the FDA for allowing the abortifacient RU-486 to remain on the market despite the fact that it has resulted in the deaths of a number of women. 

CWA then blasted the FDA for its reversal from its earlier position, condemning the move to remove prescription status from Plan B as dangerous to women’s health care and minors.

“Any scheme based on who buys the drug is absolutely meaningless,” said Wendy Wright, President of CWA. “Anyone, man or woman, over 18 could buy the drug and turn around – even in the store – and give it to a 13-year old.  Neither FDA nor Barr, the Plan B drug maker, has the ability to penalize those that would sell or give the drug to a minor. No one can believe that the FDA or Barr could enforce a gender restriction on sales so that only women can buy it but men could not.”

Ms. Wright pointed out that the over the counter access of the morning-after pill did not at all reduce the number of pregnancies or abortions, but in fact increases the rate of abortion. According to statistics presented by Ms. Wright, after Scotland made the morning-after pill a non-prescription drug in 1999, the number of abortions skyrocketed in 2005 to their highest levels since abortion was decriminalized in 1967.
 
“Countries that make the morning-after pill easy to access show no drop in pregnancies or abortions, but they do experience skyrocketing rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STD).  Common sense and care for women – especially minor girls – requires medical oversight of this drug. The FDA needs to stop playing games with women’s lives.” [By Peter J. Smith, D.C., July 31, 2006 LifeSiteNews.com] 

DUREX MARKETS CONDOMS DESIGNED FOR 13-16 YEAR OLDS. A condom manufacturer has set its sights on British youth, intending to market condoms designed for young teenagers in the United Kingdom as soon as 2007, provoking outrage from parents and pro-family organizations, according to the. Durex, the condom manufacturer, intends to market a smaller, 49 mm condom to Britain’s youth, which it introduced in Germany just last week. The company claims the condom is also easier to put on for those who are inexperienced. “It is aimed at youths between 13 and 16, where a not insignificant number engage in unprotected sex,” said a Durex spokesman. The specially designed condom has garnered the approval of Britain’s Family Planning Association which has said, “All initiatives that promote young people to have safe sex should be encouraged,” according to the Sun. The company sees the United Kingdom as a market for the condom, since the UK has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe, and British teens on average engage in sexual intercourse for the first time when they are 15. However, Matthew O’Gorman, spokesman for the pro-life charity LIFE, blasted the deliberate marketing of the condoms to young teenagers as “sick and irresponsible.” “We know that teenagers engage in risky behaviour. If it’s messing around on roads or taking drugs, we teach them not to – because it’s bad for them,” added O’Gorman. “But when it comes to sex, we do the opposite – by throwing condoms at the problem.” A recent exposé of condoms by Human Life International indicates that the failure rate of condoms due to bursting, tearing, and slipping off is 8.08%, or 1 in 12. The rate of pregnancy in women with partners who always use condoms is 15% within the first year, a rate that increases to 80% after ten years. Recent research has also consistently dispelled the myth that condoms are effective at preventing the spread of STDs. Read the HLI exposé at: http://www.hli.org/condom_expose.html 
[Outrage at Durex for kids
http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2006330430,00.html; Peter J. Smith LONDON, Sun (British paper), July 24, 2006 LifeSiteNews.com]