The Washington Post reports that, under President Obama and his Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the Food and Drug Administration is considering letting “anyone of any age buy the controversial morning-after pill Plan B directly off drugstore and supermarket shelves without a prescription.” The Post writes,
“The Food and Drug Administration has until Wednesday to respond to a request from the drug’s manufacturer to make the pill as easy to get as toilet paper and toothpaste....
“Opponents, however, say such a decision would expose girls and women to potential risks from taking high doses of a potent hormone, interfere with parents’ ability to monitor their children and make it easier for men to prey on vulnerable minors….
“[The] pill would move out from behind pharmacists’ counters, eliminating the requirement that women produce a prescription or prove that they are at least 17 years old to get it without a doctor’s order. Instead, Plan B would be available on store shelves, along with condoms, contraceptive sponges and spermicides.
“‘Hopefully, it will be right on the shelves between the condoms and the pregnancy tests,’ said Kirsten Moore of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, a Washington-based advocacy group….
“Plan B consists of a synthetic form of progesterone; this hormone is found in many standard birth-control pills, but Plan B contains it at higher doses….
“Plan B works primarily by preventing an egg from being fertilized. Critics, however, focus on the chance that it may prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb, an action they consider equivalent to an abortion. As a result, it has been the subject of intense debate and conflict. Some doctors refuse to write prescriptions for it, some pharmacists refuse to fill requests, and some hospitals refuse to provide it to patients.
“‘It’s not a drug that prevents life — it’s a drug that destroys life,’ said Jeanne Monahan of the Family Research Council, a conservative advocacy group. ‘If we define life as beginning at fertilization or conception, then this drug can be an abortifacient.’”