Aide Says Morning-After Pill Is Not Therapeutic

Denounces US Decision to Give Plan B Access to Minors

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WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 27, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's decision to give minors over-the-counter access to the morning-after pill "flies in the face of common sense," says a bishops' conference pro-life spokesperson.



The administration announced late last Wednesday that it will give access to the pill, Levonorgestrel or "Plan B," to 17-year-old minors as well as to adults.

The assistant director for policy and communications at the bishops' Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, Deirdre McQuade, stated that the administration's "court-driven decision to make Plan B available without a prescription" to minors "flies in the face of common sense."

The statement, released Thursday by the bishops' conference, continued: "Levonorgestrel is a powerful drug, taken in two doses over a 12-hour period. It is 40 times more potent than comparable progestin-only birth control pills -- Ovrette -- for which a prescription is required."

McQuade asserted that "wider access to Plan B could endanger the lives of newly-conceived children, and will put minors at risk for unnecessary side effects, undermine parental rights, and contribute to higher STD rates."

A previous article from the pro-life secretariat noted that possible side effects include: vomiting, stomach pain, tiredness, diarrhea, dizziness, breast
pain, headache, and menstrual changes." It also reported a risk of ectopic pregnancy up to five times greater than normal.

The article, written by Susan Wills, noted: "One doctor who supports Plan B admitted that repeat use
'wreaks havoc on a woman's cycle, so the resulting menstrual chaos acts as a powerful deterrent
to using this method too often.'"

Not therapeutic

"Pregnancy is not a disease," McQuade stated, "and fertility is not a pathological condition, so Plan B has no authentic therapeutic purpose, and can actually cause harm to women and their newly-conceived children."

The spokesperson said that the administration describes Plan B as a "contraceptive drug."

She continued: "Although Plan B can prevent fertilization, the manufacturer admits it may also prevent an embryo from implanting in the womb, which is essential to his or her continued survival.

"Since it takes several days for the growing embryo to reach the uterine lining and implant in the mother's womb, the child in his or her second week of life could die as a direct result of Plan B. This is properly understood as an early abortion."

McQuade expressed the concern that "without the benefit of a doctor's supervision, many teens will be unaware of this possible abortifacient action and the other risks posed by Levonorgestrel, particularly the risks from repeated use."

She noted: "Much to the surprise of the morning-after pill's early advocates, five years of research in Europe and the United States shows that increased access to emergency contraception has failed to reduce rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion.

"But it has led to greater sexual risk-taking among adolescent populations, in turn leading to higher rates of sexually-transmitted disease.

"In the unlikely event a teenager will bother to read the Plan B package insert all the way to the end, she will find sound advice: 'Of course, not having sex is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy and stay free of STDs.'"

A 2000 statement from the Pontifical Academy for Life acknowledged that "the proven 'anti-implantation' action of the morning-after pill is really nothing other than a chemically induced abortion."

It continued: "In the end, since these procedures are becoming more widespread, we strongly urge everyone who works in this sector to make a firm objection of moral conscience, which will bear courageous and practical witness to the inalienable value of human life, especially in view of the new hidden forms of aggression against the weakest and most defenseless individuals, as is the case with a human embryo."