Plan B Whoppers from the Religious Right
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Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 03:37:41 AM EST
"Do you want lies with that?"

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Go ahead and supersize it, because on the subject of emergency contraception, the Religious Right churns out more than enough whoppers with cheese to go around. Their hyperbolic howling over the FDA's recent decision to allow adults to buy Plan B without a prescription has reached such ludicrous extremes that the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot, nobody's idea of a left-wing rag, calls their alarmist rhetoric "nightmarish," and summarizes the meat of their message as follows.

The Food and Drug Administration's decision Thursday to allow the over-the-counter sale of morning-after contraception is proof that baby-killers have taken over the federal government to make the world safe for pedophiles.

Nowadays the whoppers are flying so thick and fast from stage right that even the major players can no longer keep track of the contradictions inherent in their own (ahem) misleading statements.  But that doesn't mean that no one else can.

The Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, is beset by visions of child rapists converging on pharmacies across the land like a pack of ravening werewolves under a full moon.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting  "Let there be no mistake about it, today's decision lies at the feet of President Bush and has created a lasting rift with the Catholic faithful who compromise a large part of his support base.
"President Bush and his nominee to head the FDA, Andrew von Eschenbach, have turned the agency into a hand-maiden of the abortion industry and powerful pharmaceutical companies. The FDA ... has become the lead offensive against women in crisis and the innocent unborn.
"Furthermore, the limitations and statutes governing OTC sales are unenforceable and provide sexual predators and rapists with a convenient method to cover the evidence of their crimes. The only explanation for such a questionable decision can be that politics and economics have trumped medical safety and moral principle."

That's a good one, Rev. Tom, because if you leave just one little word -- economics -- out of that last sentence, this is exactly what the nation's entire legitimate medical community and the FDA's own team of women's health specialists have been saying for years, every time Barr Pharmaceuticals' application was postponed or denied for no reason except for the unholy racket raised by people like you.

Tony Perkins is pretty hot under the collar, too; he could probably flame broil his whoppers just by breathing on them. In fact, the Family Research Council says it's lawyering up to file suit against the FDA -- because just like Eutenauer, Perkins is touchingly concerned about the dire threat to women's health posed by 0.75 milligrams of levonorgestrel, which the FDA's own scientific advisors concluded was "safer than aspirin" even when that agency denied OTC status for Plan B three years ago.

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"I am greatly troubled that the FDA has sacrificed women's health in the name of politics.
"An agency charged with protecting the health interests of the country, must be held to high standards of accountability. Congress must respond to this outrageous action by the FDA.

"Family Research Council is pursuing legal and legislative options against the FDA for its deliberate disregard for women's health and the law."

Perkins goes on to conflate Plan B with birth control pills containing synthetic estrogen, the basis for his absurd claims that Plan B is dangerous: "Birth control pills, which are essentially a lower dose regimen of Plan B, require a prescription."  Another whopper, but maybe Big Tony didn't have his hand on the Bible when he gave the OK to posting this one on the FRC site.

"Birth control pills are available by prescription only for sound medical reasons: They can cause significant or life-threatening conditions such as blood clots and heart attacks. Birth control pills are contraindicated for women with diabetes, liver problems, heart disease, breast cancer, deep vein thrombosis, and for women who smoke and are over 35. A medical exam is necessary to ensure that none of these contraindications exists.

The OTC status would increase access to Plan B to larger populations of women, including women who have not been screened for contraindications.

You're busted, Tony. Doctors routinely prescribe Plan B for women suffering from health problems such as the ones on your scary-sounding list precisely because they cannot take birth control pills containing estrogen.

In fact, there are only three contraindications [pdf link] to Plan B: [1] known or suspected pregnancy, [2] unexplained vaginal bleeding or [3] hypersensitivity (allergy) to any of Plan B's components.

There's no evidence that Plan B is unsafe in the presence of unexplained vaginal bleeding, but since that's a contraindication for taking progestin-only birth control pills on a daily and ongoing basis, the manufacturer includes that contraindiction just to be on the safe side.

And despite your unseemly and seemingly endless infatuation with the word "abortifacient," there is not a speck of existing evidence that Plan B even inhibits implantation. Plan B literature mentions that possibility, however, just to provide the informed consent that you maintain is denied -- for the same reason that it's notoriously difficult to prove that all crows are black.

"Known or suspected pregnancy" is a contraindication only because it's utterly useless to take Plan B if a woman is already pregnant.  And we can all agree that none of us should take medications if we're allergic to them.

Tony's fellow chefs over at the Concerned Women for America are cooking up a storm as well. Wendy Wright is even more hot and bothered than he is. Her brain is so overheated over women having unrestricted access to contraception that she can't decide what's worse: Plan B causing abortions or Plan B not causing abortions -- which would mean that more women ended up having real abortions, as opposed to the imaginary ones she dreamed up before her arguments tripped over their own feet. Wendy cribs Tony Perkins' whopper about Plan B being the same as regular birth control pills, too, although it could have been just one more act of Christian sharing.

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Pharmacists cannot conduct medical exams to detect medical conditions. Heart and liver problems, for example, exclude women from taking oral contraceptives, which are just low doses of the morning-after pill.
OTC availability of the morning-after pill means that women who have not been counseled or screened for medical conditions, and who may not have access to a physician in case complications arise, have unlimited access to Plan B.
Those depending on the morning-after pill as a contraceptive must take into account that it prevents pregnancy only 75 to 89 percent of the time.  If more women rely on the morning-after pill, particularly as a form of birth control, the number of failures will increase as well. The final result appears to be more pregnant women who resort to abortion.
Making the morning-after pill available OTC means it will be available to the entire public, including adolescents and women with contrary medical conditions. Yet advocates are arguing that these women should be put at risk to accommodate women who demand not only quick access to the drug, but with no questions asked by medical professionals.

OK, Wendy, it's truth time.  Since no "contrary medical conditions" exist, women who can be "put at risk" don't exist, either.  There are no known "complications" after taking Plan B.  Women need quick access to Plan B because the sooner they take it, the better it works. And the prescribing information [pdf link] for medical professionals that was FDA-approved years ago clearly states that no in-person doctor's visit is needed.

CWA's Janice Crouse is another poster child for the deficiencies of abstinence-only sex education, an object lesson in the importance of understanding contraception. Keep in mind, this woman has a Ph.D., used to write speeches for George H.W. Bush, and represents US interests at the United Nations. But back home they say that even a blind hog roots up an acorn once in a while, so I have to agree with her on this one: "The amount of misinformation about Plan B is astounding."  

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Since birth control pills require a prescription and a doctor's supervision during use, how can the FDA or the drug manufacturer condone providing Plan B (a mega-dose of the same drugs) over-the-counter? Widespread access to Plan B would expose women to the health risks that heretofore were acknowledged by doctors who screened women before prescribing birth control pills and then monitored them for the wide variety of contra-indicators for their use.
Of equal concern is the fact that any 18-year-old could buy Plan B OTC and give it to anyone else -- even underage girls -- without parental consent or knowledge. The ramifications of such distribution include sexual abuse and sexual exploitation.
Sadly, there will be no recourse for those who fall victim to this social experiment. 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 [sic] promiscuity regardless of the cost to their own or other women's health and well-being.

Just the thought of sexual promiscuity is enough to make Janice get all fogged up over the difference between adverbs and adjectives, let alone the facts about birth control. But she isn't the only one. Even doctors can get so carried away by the thought of others' lustful thoughts that they can apparently lose their minds. A case in point is Janet Woodcock, M.D., of the FDA.  Jon Carroll explains Dr. Woodcock's aberrations better than I ever could.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting  Janet Woodcock, who is the deputy operations commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, apparently told a group of agency employees, according to a memo written by one of them, that "we could not anticipate or prevent extreme promiscuous behaviors such as the medication taking on 'urban legend' status that would lead adolescents to form sex-based cults centered around the use of Plan B."

See, they're not preventing unwanted pregnancies; they're preventing sex-based cults. Most cults are sex-based even without Plan B because, really, if you're starting a cult, wouldn't that be the best thing to base it on? You could have a vegetable-based cult, but sex is a better marketing device.
So now we come to a phenomenon called "projection." The most common way that we explain human behavior is to use our beliefs, motives and behavior patterns as a template.
So if I tell you that a "morning after" pill will lead to sex-based cults, I am really telling you that a candid examination of my inner motives reveals that I would most likely start a sex-based cult if I could, and that urge scares me, so I will project my urges onto young people and their pharmaceutical choices, and announce that I have discovered reality and this is what it looks like.
[A]s we know, evidence-based belief systems have fallen out of favor recently, so other things have rushed in to fill their place. Since belief systems are all about describing reality, and since projection is an infallible solipsistic belief system, it should be prospering now -- and, lo, such is the case.

Of course, Dr. Woodcock also told PBS that, even after Merck's own studies revealed that Vioxx was connected with a sharp rise in heart attacks, these "hints" of its dangers only justified the FDA in deciding "what should be done is put information in the label about these results as well as some precautions about use in people who are at risk for cardiovascular events."  So perhaps it really isn't fair to judge her an alarmist in any but sexual matters.

But as Jon Carroll so trenchantly observes, sex sells. Since the Religious Right began cooking up its well-advertised campaign of whoppers against Plan B, women's awareness of, and demand for, emergency contraception has increased by leaps and bounds.

So keep the grill fired up, y'all. Give us one with everything, pile it high . . . and bless your hearts.

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The title makes me think of the legendary "worst film ever made" cult film "Plan Nine From Outer Space"...

Also, how about a byline, in italics " : Just So No" ?

I've also wanted to do a post, for a while now, to be titled "This is your brain.....this is your brain on ideology".  I already have some great graphics. Then, there's the famous "frying egg" ads...


by Bruce Wilson on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 12:46:14 PM EST

While reading through the voluminous commentary from the Religious Right on the multitude of evils inherent in OTC status for Plan B, I couldn't help noticing that when Wendy Wright mentions (as she very often does) her fear of potential abuse by a pedophile who could purchase it for his child victim, she invariably says that the man could "slip it to her."

Freud himself said, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." But I still wouldn't enter some of these people's minds without a hazmat suit.

by moiv on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 04:12:36 AM EST

By now we all know where to find the pedophiles and they wear priest's robes and do not support contraception.

by nofundy on Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 03:12:40 PM EST

When we think matters comparing with religious, sometimes it will not end in a good result. So we have to avoid such situations and we must take decisions upon our own thoughts and it should be right. Keep sharing!

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by dona on Thu Dec 17, 2015 at 10:51:49 PM EST

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