Washington D.C., May 1, 2013 / 16:05 pm
Critics slammed the FDA’s decision to make the Plan B One-Step morning-after pill available without a prescription to teenagers as young as 15, saying the pill is dangerous for young women and can act as an abortion drug.
“Once again, the health of young women is being sacrificed on the altar of ‘choice,’” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said April 30.
Anna Higgins, director of the Family Research Council’s Center for Human Dignity, said the decision “shows an alarming lack of concern for the safety of young girls, the fundamental rights of parents and concerns of the medical community.”
Higgins warned that the easy availability of the drug means that the women at most risk for sexual abuse and sexually transmitted infections will be less likely to have medical supervision and medical screenings. She cited a 2010 U.K. study that found a spike in sexually transmitted infection rates among teens after Plan B’s availability was increased.
The Food and Drug Administration lowered the age for over-the-counter sale of the drug from 17 to 15 on April 30. Purchasers must prove their age through some form of identification document, such as a driver’s license, passport or birth certificate.
The Plan B One-Step website says the drug primarily works to prevent the release of an egg from the ovary, reducing the possibility of pregnancy if taken within three days after sexual relations. However, if an egg has already been released, the company says it is possible that the drug may work by preventing the implantation in the womb, thereby ending the life of the newly formed human embryo.
That possibility drew intense objections from pro-life advocates like Hawkins, who denounced Plan B as “a dangerous abortion-inducing drug.”
“Girls who aren’t even old enough to drive themselves to the pharmacy are now being given free access to a megadose of a pill that ranks as a Group I carcinogen by the World Health Organization,” she explained.