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Blame God If You Don't Have Emergency Contraception
The, well, ASSCLOWNS running our government are simply not to be believed. Brian Alexander writes in Glamour about "The new lies about women's health" -- how doctors can no longer trust the FDA for objective, science-based information. And, in a fantastic, comprehensive article, he goes into details about the lack of approval for Plan B, the morning after pill -- based, not on science, but on the meddling of religious wackos:

If it had been left up to the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee, American women would be able to walk into any drugstore and buy the emergency contraceptive Plan B over the counter (OTC). When the committee was convened in 2003 to review Plan B, a "morning-after" method of birth control that can reduce the odds of pregnancy by 95 percent if taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex, all 28 members agreed that the drug was safe and effective. The vast majority of them also voted to make it available OTC at any pharmacy. Susan F. Wood, Ph.D., then the head of the FDA's Office of Women's Health, heartily supported that decision.

Because of her focus on women's health, Wood examined the research and closely watched the review process for Plan B, a drug that has been available by prescription since 1999. Among the facts: Several studies showed that it works with few side effects and that making it more accessible does not lead to an increase in unsafe sex or promiscuity. In 2000 alone, the drug prevented approximately 51,000 abortions, according to a Guttmacher Institute estimate. But women who need Plan B often have difficulty obtaining a prescription and getting it filled—hence the need to approve it for sale OTC.

"One member of the panel told me, 'I wish we had data this good on everything that comes before this committee,'" Wood recalls. Fast approval should have been a mere formality.

But Christian fundamentalist groups like the Southern Baptist Convention and powerful religious conservative organizations like the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America campaigned hard against OTC status by lobbying members of Congress, testifying before the FDA panels and bombarding the agency with letters. They argued that the drug was dangerous, would lead to unsafe sex and would corrupt children. Pia de Solenni, director of Life and Women's Issues at the Family Research Council (a pro-life group that also believes there are "long-lasting negative consequences of premarital sex," including "emotional problems" and "future marital breakup"), also argued inaccurately in a press release that Plan B "will most certainly make [women] ill from an overdose of hormones and potentially cause further complications."

The campaign worked. Rather than rely on the recommendations of its medical advisory board, the FDA delayed ruling on Plan B for nearly two years. Why? Insiders speculated that the delay was, in part, the handiwork of conservative activist and ob-gyn W. David Hager, M.D., an active member of Christian right political groups and the author of As Jesus Cared for Women: Restoring Women Then and Now. Appointed by the Bush administration to the FDA panel that reviewed Plan B, Dr. Hager first voted with the committee that Plan B is safe and effective, but then went on to write what he termed a "minority opinion," laying out a case against OTC status. Contrary to numerous studies and the review panel's findings, he argued that the drug might not be safe for teens and that they might not understand package instructions.

They manage just fine in France, you moron. Alexander continues:

Shortly thereafter, Steven Galson, M.D., a high-ranking FDA official, cited similar concerns in a letter to Plan B's manufacturer—denying the drug approval at that time. Some women's health advocates had hoped that the logjam would break when Lester Crawford, DVM, Ph.D. was confirmed as FDA commissioner in 2005. But last August, Crawford put off a decision indefinitely.

Why did Plan B get deep-sixed? According to FDA officials interviewed by the Government Accountability Office, the decision to deny approval for Plan B had been made by top political appointees at the FDA months before staff even completed reviewing the application; many others suggested that pressure from the religious right played a key role.

FDA spokespeople have denied those accusations, but religious-activist organizations crowed about swaying the FDA, and Dr. Hager claimed the decision was God's work. "I was asked to write a minority opinion that was sent to the commissioner of the FDA," he told an assembly at the Christian Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky. "God took that information, and he used it through this minority report to influence the decision."

This is a long and compelling article. Read the rest at the link, and check out all the perversions of data about condoms and more, and pseudo-science and outright lies presented as science -- and mostly using our tax dollars, to boot. Oopsy! And guess who's trying to ban birth control!

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Posted by aalkon at June 5, 2006 11:04 AM

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Comments

Perhaps if the fundanutjobs would have more sex there would be less hatred, stupidity and bigotry in this country. The instinct to mate (both for pleasure and procreation) is not something that you can simply write off. They can take all of the condoms, birth control and whatever else that they want away. If two people want to have sex, they're going to and no book is going to stop them.

I'm all for starting a coalition to help Christians get laid.

Posted by: Alan H. at June 5, 2006 4:50 AM

The mental image of fundamentalists having sex makes me feel... I dunno-- icky.

Posted by: Deirdre B. at June 5, 2006 6:15 AM

NEWSFLASH: Teens are going to have sex, does anyone honestly believe that removal of contraceptive products from the main market is going to stop that? It won't, so if you want more abortions and teenage mothers make it harder to obtain contraceptive products. If there's a choice for a girl to have a normal life or for a child to be born to an unfit mother which would you choose?

Posted by: Laura S. at June 5, 2006 7:53 AM

Oh, you're going to burn in Hell, Laura.

Girls aren't supposed the have sex and you know it.
Girls who do deserve what they get.

Posted by: Deirdre B. at June 5, 2006 2:22 PM

"I'm all for starting a coalition to help Christians get laid."

Are you kidding? The fundamentalist Christians are fucking and sucking and rimming and pissing on each other like there's no tomorrow. That's why they're all so fucking full of shame.

Posted by: Lena Cuisina, Our Lady of the Zipless Fuck at June 5, 2006 10:25 PM

Maybe it's just me, but some days the Christian fundanutters just seem desperate -- desperate to get their agenda finalized as soon as possible, as if they know their power is eroding beneath their feet.

Posted by: Gary S. at June 5, 2006 10:31 PM

Hrmm,
it is comforting to think such things. However, unfortunately virtually every survey and study ever done on the subject shows that "pre-marriage virginal" religious folks have a better and more satisfying sex life than everybody else.

As a social libertarian, I don't think it is the government's business, but is it so hard to imagine that chastity may be a pragmatic as well as moralistic societal policy? I agree on the birth control, but this silly contempt for treating sex as if it has importance or sanctity is one of the reasons why sex is so worthless for so many non-religious folks.

Brian

Posted by: SolidState at June 11, 2006 8:59 AM

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