The Mix

Plan Z?

The FDA is making sure that Plan B, the over-the-counter "morning after" contraceptive, is safe, effective, and never available.
Deespite overwhelming evidence from its own scientists that the drug is safe, the Food and Drug Administration has yet again indefinitely delayed ruling on over-the-counter status for Plan B, the contraceptive that's already available without a prescription in the UK, Canada, and other countries.

This time, the FDA's not only letting politics trump science, a common enough occurance when it comes to reproductive health, but breaking a promise by Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt who said that the FDA would vote on Plan B by September 1.

A high-ranking FDA official, Susan Wood, director of the FDA's Office of Women's Health, resigned today because of the FDA's delay.

Her resignation letter puts it quite elegantly:
Commissioner Lester Crawford's decision on Friday amounted to unwarranted interference in agency decision-making. I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overuled.
What's most irritating about the FDA's decision, besides the fact that thousands of women are denied a safe, effective, private and economical method for making their own reproductive choices, is that the FDA won't come clean about its political motivations.

In announcing the delay, the FDA has said that while the drug is safe for those 17 years and older, they can't figure out a way to keep it out of the hands of younger women. Huh? Alcohol and cigarettes are both sold over the counter, ID required. Seems simple enough. Cross-file this one under disingeuous prevaricating and pandering to extremists.
Rachel Neumann is Rights & Liberties Editor at AlterNet.
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