5 questions in the wake of the FDA’s Plan B changes

May 3, 2013

Plan B FDA decisionEarlier this week the FDA announced a highly controversial change in the rules governing the sale of the drug known as Plan B in an attempt to appease a federal judge who has ordered the removal of all age restrictions on the drug.  The new rules impact Plan B distribution in two significant ways: the drug can now be purchased by girls as young as 15-years old with proof of age, and the drug may be stocked over-the-counter on retail store shelves.  Prior to this new rule, girls had to be at least 17-years old and were required to purchase the drug at the pharmacy counter.  Prior to this, of course, the drug was available only by prescription.

The new FDA rules raise a myriad of important questions, but here are five that I believe should be front and center in the policy debate just beginning to evolve:

  1. Will cashiers at stores stocking Plan B be allowed to opt-out of selling the drug if they are morally opposed to the drug’s abortifacient potential?
  2. Will the federal government require stores to stock Plan B?
  3. If a person 15-years old or older buys Plan B and then gives it to a girl under 14-years old, will the person providing Plan B be subject to criminal prosecution for aiding in child sexual abuse?  On a related note, what is the criminal liability for persons who legally purchase Plan B for the purpose of re-selling the drug to persons below age 15?
  4. Will stores selling Plan B be held criminally liable for selling Plan B to a 15-year old who is engaged in a statutory rape relationship?
  5. What will the long term impact be of girls taking increased doses of Plan B to compensate for being well beyond the 72-hour window in which it is meant to be taken?

There are a lot more questions that could be added to the list, questions like whether men with criminal histories as sexual predators are allowed to buy the drug, or whether boyfriends who slip Plan B to their girlfriends without their knowledge are criminally liable, or… the list goes on.

The FDA approval to place Plan B on retail store shelves is just one more social experiment sought by population control advocates for decades.  Now the only barrier that seemingly remains is the pesky requirement that girls must be at least 15-years old to buy it off the shelf.  The federal courts, as evidenced by Judge Edward Korman’s recent ruling now under appeal by the Justice Department, are already well on their way to crumbling this barrier.  But that doesn’t mean we should stop asking the tough questions. Or overlooking the potential criminal and civic liabilities that might just bring this entire scheme crashing back to common sense.

– Mike Fichter

Mike Fichter is the President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life


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