WASHINGTON (August 9, 2006)—The Pro-Life Secretariat at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has criticized the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for directing Barr Pharmaceuticals to resubmit its application for over-the-counter (OTC) marketing of the Plan B morning-after pill. The FDA reportedly will soon approve non-prescription sale of the drug to women 18 years of age and older.
"The Bishops' conference continues to oppose making Plan B available without medical supervision, whether to minors or adults," said Ms. McQuade, Director of Planning and Information at the Secretariat.
Plan B is a large dose of a powerful hormonal drug that is available only by prescription when used in smaller doses for contraception. It may act on a woman's body in several ways. "The morning-after pill may prevent fertilization, or it may interfere with the implantation of the embryo in her mother's womb," Ms. McQuade said. "Such interference is best understood not as contraceptive but as a very early abortifacient action."
McQuade added: "A number of studies have shown that readier access to emergency contraception does not lower unintended pregnancies or abortions. Such access may also lead to an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Plan B fails the test of addressing an urgent medical need – a new human life is not a disease – and may expose women to greater harm."
For USCCB comments to the FDA and other information on the morning-after pill, go to: www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/contraception/morningafterpill.htm.