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FDA weighing over-the-counter status for ‘morning after’ pill that may induce abortion

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A “morning after” pill that can cause chemical abortions will be sold over the counter if its makers win approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

Women’s Capital Corporation, which makes Plan B, a so-called “morning after contraceptive,” has applied to the FDA for approval to sell the pill over the counter, The New York Times reported. Another morning after pill, Preven, which is made by Gynetics, also may win approval, according to The Times.

The “morning after” pill is different from the RU 486 abortion pill, which is available only by prescription and can be used through the first nine weeks of pregnancy.

Instead, the morning after pill will work through the first 72 hours after sexual intercourse. For the most part, the pill is simply a mega dose of birth control pills.

While pro-choice advocates contend that morning after pills cannot cause abortions, pro-lifers disagree. The front page of Preven’s website boasts that the pill “won’t hurt a pregnancy that has already started” and “will not affect a fetus.”

But the fine print states otherwise. Preven’s maker says the pill can work in one of three ways. The first two ways involve stopping the release of a woman’s egg and preventing fertilization of the egg. It is the third method that concerns pro-lifers — preventing an embryo from attaching to the walls of a woman’s uterus. Preven’s website calls the embryo a “fertilized egg,” but pro-lifers believe that is a human life.

Ethicist Ben Mitchell, a consultant on biomedical and life issues for the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said the pill clearly can cause an abortion.

“A so-called fertilized egg is an embryo. An embryo is a very young human being,” said Mitchell, who is an associate professor of bioethics and contemporary culture at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill.
The pill creates “a hostile environment in the uterus so that the embryo is expelled. That’s chemical abortion, plain and simple,” Mitchell said, adding that some “unsuspecting pro-life Christians” have been led astray by the morning after pill’s advertisements.

“In fact, if you listen carefully, the message is that the pill sometimes causes abortions,” he said. “Not all the time, but no one can know when it will and when it won’t. This is like selling a half-loaded pistol over the counter. Someone, sometime is going to die.”

Even without the pill going over the counter, it is readily available online and at pro-abortion clinics. In fact, for a fee, one Internet company says it will phone in a prescription to a pharmacy in a woman’s city.

Just this year, James Madison University in Virginia stopped the distribution of the morning after pill at its health center. Pro-choicers on campus are trying to reverse the action.

More than a dozen countries offer the pill over the counter, The New York Times reported, with France offering it to teenagers in schools.

Advocates want it sold over the counter because it works only 72 hours after sex.

“The morning after pill is another technological fix for a sexually promiscuous and anti-natal culture,” Mitchell said, adding that the primary users are not victims of rape or incest. Instead, they are “sexually active women who do not want the responsibility that goes along with having sex.”

The pill costs $20 to $30 a dose, according to The Times. It prevents pregnancy approximately 75 percent of the time, and side effects include nausea and vomiting, according to Preven’s website. Serious risks include heart attacks and strokes, Preven says.

    About the Author

  • Michael Foust