Proposal for Easier Sale of "Morning-after" Pills Is Assailed

U.S. Bishops’ Office Warns of Early Abortions and Other Medical Risks

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WASHINGTON, D.C., DEC. 7, 2003 ( The U.S. bishops’ conference has urged the federal Food and Drug Administration to reject a proposal to switch the status of «morning-after» pills from prescription to over-the-counter.

The FDA recently announced a Dec. 16 meeting of the Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee and the Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs, to consider a proposal to make Plan B, or levonorgestrel-only «emergency contraception» (EC), available without a prescription. The agency invited written comments.

The bishops’ conference, through its Office of General Counsel, filed comments against the proposal on Friday. It noted that the pills can cause early abortions.

The comments said, in part: «The FDA has no mandate to promote and facilitate ways of preventing pregnancy that may cause the death of developing human life already conceived. Making EC available over-the-counter will reverse the legal and medical trend toward greater recognition and protection of human embryonic life, by making chemical agents that can destroy life so easily obtainable.»

And because the drug has been advertised and promoted as a «contraceptive,» countless women are being misled, the bishops’ office said. Making «emergency contraception» available without a prescription would eliminate critical clinical monitoring and follow-up to address the risk of ectopic pregnancy, a potentially fatal complication.

It would also make the drugs available to minor girls without the involvement of their parents or a family physician.

See the comments in their entirety at

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