Birth Control Archive

May 2006: Birth Control

Doctor on FDA Panel Opposes ACOG Morning After Pill Campaign

Contrarian Couples

Morning After Pill

DOCTOR ON FDA PANEL OPPOSES ACOG MORNING AFTER PILL CAMPAIGN. Dr. David Hager  [KY OBGYN] criticized a campaign by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to get doctors to promote MAP/EC, which may sometimes cause an abortion. The campaign features ads for its 49,000 doctors to post in their offices and waiting rooms; the "Ask me" ads include waiting room posters designed to encourage women to ask their doctors about the Plan B drug. "Accidents happen" the posters say. Pro-life doctors who oppose the drug may not be receptive. Because the FDA ultimately rejected the request to sell the morning after pill over the counter and has delayed acting on a second request from the drug's manufacturer, Hager contends the ACOG ad campaign is an effort to promote over the counter sales. However, Dr. Hager told Agape Press that ACOG's contention that the drug will lower pregnancy and abortion rates is contradicted by two leading studies showing the opposite. "A study done out of Scotland, a very well done study, concludes that advance provision of emergency contraception does not reduce abortion rates…They did not find an effect on lowering abortion rates in women who had these prescriptions or had the medication available."

Meanwhile, Hager points to another study, done by the University of California at San Francisco and conducted by a Planned Parenthood medical advisor, that showed those rates did not decrease even when women were supplied with the Plan B drugs. UCSF tracked 2,117 local women from age 15 to 24 who participated in the study for six months. Some women were given a personal supply of the pills, another group were told to obtain the pills at a local pharmacy, and a third group were instructed to get the drugs from a local health clinic.

The study found that increased access to the "morning after" pill did not lower pregnancy rates, because many women did not use the pills. In fact, only 55 percent of the women who had the pills already in their possession took them following sexual intercourse.

Regardless of which of the three control groups the women were placed in, the results showed the same percentage of women in each group had sex, contracted sexually transmitted diseases and became pregnant at the same rates.

"I was on the FDA advisory committee for reproductive health drugs and women at the time that the ultimate decision was made by the FDA not to approve this for over-the-counter sale," he told the news service. "The vote of the advisory committee was 23-4 in favor of making Plan B [a brand name of EC in the U.S.] available over the counter. I was one of the four negative votes on that," Dr. Hager added. Currently 9 states allow the morning after pill to be purchased over the counter and without a prescription. [ACOG http://www.acog.org; Agape Press; http://www.lifenews.com/nat2274.html, Ertelt, LifeNews.com 16May06

CONTRARIAN COUPLES. Last week United States health officials released the results of a survey of what some would call "reproductive behavior", conducted in 2002. The National Survey of Family Growth revealed a decline in contraceptive use over the last decade. Among sexually active women who said they were not trying to get pregnant, the percentage not using contraception in 2001 increased to 11 per cent from 7 per cent in 1994. No survey of this type appears to be complete without an income and ethnicity analysis…non-use of contraception had risen by three percentage points to 10 per cent among women on higher incomes. [Carolyn Moynihan, MercatorNet, "Contra-Contraception," by Russell Shorto, New York Times, 7May06; 13May06, http://www.mercatornet.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=272]

MORNING AFTER PILL, article by Anne Williams, M.D. http://www.mercatornet.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=72