The One-Year Anniversary of Hell Breaking Loose

Cristina Page

A retrospective of the disastrous social consequences anti-EC forces predicted would result from Plan B's over-the-counter availability.

Feeling frisky? Or friskier than a year ago? According to Concerned Women for America and company, you ought to be. And acting out your promiscuous fantasies as well. This week marks the one-year anniversary of the FDA decision to allow emergency contraception to be sold over-the-counter. That decision was touted by conservatives as a kind of policy aphrodisiac that would lead Americans to lose complete control over their sexual drive and judgment. The logic apparently was that the availability of this additional pregnancy prevention method would loosen the sexual chains that otherwise keep society marching in place. (One specific result of EC availability, the religious right suggested, would be to help sexual predators more easily prey upon their victims free of consequence.)

Fortunately, pro-contraception forces eventually prevailed in that battle, but not without a struggle. The anti-choice movement warned of dire consequences for our country if the FDA gave into the advice of every professional medical association in the field of reproductive health – all supported the change to over-the-counter availability. They got their man on the inside, Dr. David Hager (who refuses to prescribe contraception to unmarried women). Bush appointed him to the FDA advisory board reviewing the application. That helped drag out the review process. They lobbied the president to intervene to make sure the FDA made a political decision rather than a medical one. (At the same time, they encouraged pharmacists nationwide to deny women prescriptions to contraception of any type.)

Most of their arguments against EC were easily dismissed – at least scientifically and morally. After all, it was one of the safest drugs the panel had ever considered. Claiming it was unsafe didn't pass the laugh test, not that they didn't try ad nauseum. While folks like Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, were angling at getting the FDA to ban EC entirely (along with every other form of contraception), the God Squad failed to convince the FDA staff reviewers, they were thrown a bone by the administration – teens would not have the same chance to prevent pregnancy as others. (In case you were wondering, there's been no discernible uptick in orgiastic activity.) Eternally the sore losers, the anti-choice brigade has since sued the FDA with the intent to reverse its decision to allow American women what women in countries such as India, Thailand, England, France, Canada, Finland and the Netherlands have had for years: the right to purchase EC without a prescription. On the year anniversary of the FDA's righteous decision, here's a retrospective of the arguments and forebodings the religious right made to influence the FDA's decision and mislead the public. Enjoy.

"America's women and girls are, once again, subjected to medical experimentation at the urging of those who want to be free of the consequences from sexually promiscuity regardless of the cost to their own or other women's health and well-being." Janice Crouse, Concerned Women for America

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"Male sexual predators can easily use this medication to cover their abusive and unlawful actions. Likewise, the potential exists for increased pressure on young women to become sexually active, since they may be led to believe that preventing pregnancy is as simple as taking a pill after intercourse. For many, such sexual exploitation will not be in their best health interest." statement by American Association of Pro-Life Ob/Gyns

"What's to prevent the pill from getting into the hands of the woman's impressionable 13-year-old daughter, who sees the pill as a good excuse to 'hook up' with a boy she barely knows? Will ACOG pay for the girl's counseling when she discovers that the boy who took away her virginity is a stalker or 40 years old?" Human Events

"The authors mislead readers regarding sexually-transmitted diseases (STD). The studies they relied on, which claim that the morning-after pill does not impact STDs, included only women who were sexually active. None of their studies considered the impact of whether access to the morning-after pill encouraged women and girls to begin having sex." Wendy Wright, Concerned Women for America

"The best thing the FDA can do now for the American women and their progeny is to take the next logical step and remove these pills from the market altogether." Judy Brown, American Life League

"You can say, Oh, I got drunk; I didn't know this person that I slept with. I can undo it all with a pill." Moira Sheridan, president of Delaware Right to Life

"Making EC available would be a welcome tool for adult sexual predators who molest family members, children of friends or students. They could keep a stash in their bedroom drawer or their pocket to give their victims after committing each rape." Jill Stanek, Concerned Women for America

And lest you think the next generation of anti-contraception activists aren't in place and ready to carry on the torch, here was sweet Andy Yerbey's, president of University of Alabama College Republicans, take on it:"Girls should worry about how they're going to feel once they realize they've killed a child. A baby is a baby is a baby, and it will eventually become a four year old. [So the morning-after pill] is the same thing as putting a gun to a child's head."

Right. Same thing.

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