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August 25, 2006

Plan B To Be Available Without Prescription

FDA approves:

Women can buy the morning-after pill without a prescription, the government declared Thursday, a major step that nevertheless failed to quell the politically charged debate over access to emergency contraception.

The manufacturer, lawmakers and other advocates said they will press the government to allow minors to purchase the pills over the counter.

The Food and Drug Administration said that women 18 and older -- and men purchasing for their partners -- may buy the Plan B pills without a doctor's note, but only from pharmacies.

Girls 17 and younger still will need a prescription to buy the pills, the FDA told manufacturer Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc., in ruling on an application filed in 2003.

Here's where CNN parses the meaning of the word "pregnant:"

Plan B contains a concentrated dose of the same drug found in many regular birth-control pills. Planned Parenthood estimates 41 other countries already allow women to buy emergency contraception without a prescription.

If a woman takes Plan B within 72 hours of unprotected sex, she can lower the risk of pregnancy by up to 89 percent. Plan B is different from the abortion pill: If a woman already is pregnant, Plan B has no effect.

I assume CNN is taking "pregnant" to mean a fertilized egg implanted on the uterine wall, or however the hell that works. They know this is a key disagreement with social cons, who by and large take fertilization to be the beginning of life, but elide right over that question as if it's not a question at all.

You can probably guess my take, as I'm generally more pro-choice on these questions than mainstream conservatives. It seems to me that if abortion is currently practiced, it's probably best that the abortions occur so early in the cycle, rather than later, when the egg becomes more baby-like.

As for the health issues: Well, all drugs are dangerous. We usually don't ban a drug which is useful for some purpose just because there will be that one in ten thousand serious adverse reaction. We just give a warning, and let people take their chances.


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posted by Ace at 09:54 AM

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