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FDA: OTC emergency contraception will lead to sex cults

OMG. The FDA has been wrangling over the issue of over-the-counter availability of Plan B, the emergency contraceptive for some now, with pressure from the fundies not to approve it.

In a staff memo, an FDA official indicated that one of the issues that led the agency to balk at approving it (more precisely, a decision was deferred) was that it would lead to rampant teen sex. This is your government. (Newsday via Raw Story):

Former FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford, Dr. Janet Woodcock, deputy operations commissioner, and Dr. Steven Galson, director of the FDA’s drug evaluation center, are to testify in court-ordered depositions to be taken by attorneys for the Manhattan-based Center for Reproductive Rights on April 26, 27 and 28 in Washington, D.C. and Rockville, Md.

…The women’s group seeks to force approval of over-the-counter sales of Plan B, which can prevent pregnancy if taken within 72 hours after unprotected intercourse. Simon Heller, one of the attorneys, plans to quiz Woodcock about a March 23, 2004, staff memo suggesting she was concerned Plan B might lead to teenage promiscuity.

…In the memo released by the FDA during the discovery process, Dr. Curtis Rosebraugh, an agency medical officer, wrote: “As an example, she stated that we could not anticipate, or prevent extreme promiscuous behaviors such as the medication taking on an ‘urban legend’ status that would lead adolescents to form sex-based cults centered around the use of Plan B.”

Rosebraugh indicated he found no reason to bar nonprescription sales of Plan B.

“This was the level of scientific discourse, so to speak,” Heller said in a phone interview, referring to concerns attributed to Woodcock. “I find it very odd that these people who are supposed to be responsible scientists and doctors are making up wacky reasons.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding