The battle over Plan B is over. The “morning after” drug has been widely available to women in this country since the FDA approved it for prescription use in 1999. The current fight, though it involves Plan B, is really about a broader liberal goal: Sexualizing teenagers to undermine the family.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently invited upon itself the wrath of the pro-abortion movement by postponing a ruling on whether to make the drug available over-the-counter (OTC) to those 17 and older. The FDA’s offense: Wanting to ensure that girls 16 and under don’t get Plan B without a prescription.
Never mind that the drug, which is eight times as strong as a birth control pill, has not been proven safe for girls 16 and under – liberals were sure the decision was purely political.
Champions of Plan B, notably Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) are said to be incensed, while others are calling for congressional hearings into the FDA’s decision. Pro-abort groups such as NARAL are gearing up to turn the delay into a fundraising bonanza.
As if on cue, a few days after the FDA’s principled decision, assistant FDA Commissioner Susan F. Wood resigned in protest.
“Thank goodness there is now one less political activist at the FDA who puts radical feminist ideology above women’s health,” observed Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America in a statement.
Most telling was Wood’s use of a liberal-approved talking point: “This is a way to prevent unwanted pregnancy and thereby prevent abortion.” This very point was, and is, being repeated ad nauseam. And why not? It provides a useful wedge to drive between conservatives who hate abortion and conservatives who hate abortion but love contraceptives.
Since Plan B is a progestin-only contraceptive pill (POP) and does not induce abortion like the ghastly go-home-and-miscarry RU-486 (which the FDA approved in 1990), most would agree it occupies a morally ambiguous gray area.
If liberals get any traction equating Plan B with birth control, the door is open for them to really demagogue the issue. They will shout all the louder that conservatives’ real agenda is rolling back birth control. And they will paint conservatives as more interested in controlling women than in preventing abortion.
The public may well decide that even if Plan B isn’t birth control per se, it is a difference lacking a distinction. Conservatives who get wobbly on this point may choose to sit out the fight or even pick an ill-timed fight over the morality of contraception.
Plan B should be seen as part of a trend away from abortion pills and towards contraception-plus. In coming years, science promises a pharmacopoeia of “morning after” pills and tablets, each promising new and morally questionable ways to prevent inconvenient life.
But as this trend plays out, conservatives must recognize, and loudly make light of, attempts on the part of liberals to divide and conquer on contraception.
Conservatives would be wise to unite around implementing a zero-tolerance attitude towards sex outside marriage. Ultimately, this may be a better defense than any the FDA can provide against promiscuity and the liberal assault on the family.