OTC/MAP Means Danger for American Girls

Steven Mosher
PRI Weekly Briefing
16 April 2004
Vol. 6 / No. 15
Reproduced with Permission

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to make its final decision on over-the-counter status (OTC) of the morning-after pill (MAP) by this May 21.

Promoters of abortion claim that providing teens with open access to reproductive health supplies would lower rates of sexual promiscuity and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

But a new study from Nottingham University in Scotland confirms that teens who have access to morning-after pills engage in higher rates of sexually promiscuous behavior, contract more STDs, and have higher rates of abortion than teens who do not have such access.1

A governmental initiative in the U.K. sought to provide teens with free MAPs and reproductive health supplies in certain regions, in a vain attempt to protect teens from unintended pregnancy, to lower high-risk sexual activities and better protect teens from STDs. But this initiative has backfired.

By making the morning-after pill free to teenagers, the Government had masked real levels of sexual activity among teenagers, reported a leading newspaper in Scotland about the failed scheme.

OTC/MAP means danger to the health of American teens. The progestin-only hormonal chemical causes weight gain, depression, ovarian cyst enlargement, gallbladder disease, high blood pressure, respiratory disorders, bulimia, anorexia, clinical depression, ectopic pregnancy and abdominal pain.2

OTC/MAP means more American girls will contract a sexually transmitted disease. OTC/MAP is marketed for those who engage in "unprotected sex," and since this manner of dispensing the drug precludes proper counseling for teens, OTC/MAP will cause a dramatic increase in rates of sexually transmitted diseases. In Washington State, and in Sweden, where the morning-after pill is widely available, rates of STD infection have been skyrocketing since it was introduced in the late 1990s.3

OTC/MAP means more American girls will be victimized by sexual violence. At an FDA advisory committee meeting in support of the Plan B/OTC application, Vivian Dickerson, MD, president-elect, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), promoted MAP as a response to sexual violence committed against teens. Dickerson claimed that adolescents should have access to OTC/MAP because they, "in particular, [do not] have control over the occurrence of intercourse or the use of contraception. Examples of such cases are rape, date rape, partner pressure, or other socio-cultural pressures to engage in sex without contraception."4 Most parents of a girl who had been raped believe their daughter deserves much more than an abortion-inducing pill: counseling, testing for STDs, a police report, and preservation of forensic evidence to incarcerate the rapist.

OTC/MAP means more American teens will become pregnant and have abortions. Studies show that increased rates of pregnancy occur among teens with increased use of morning-after pills,5 and that teenagers whose pregnancies ended in induced abortion were more likely to have used morning-after pills before conception.6

For the safety of American girls, the FDA should not approve OTC/MAP.


1 Action on teenage sex backfiring, Edinburgh News, 5 April 2004. [Back]

2 See PRI's Weekly Briefing, Emergency Contraception and the Dangers to Adolescents, 5 March 2004; http://www.pop.org/main.cfm?id=215&r1=2.00&r2=2.00&r3=0.05&r4=0.00&level=3&eid=547 [Back]

3 Ibid. [Back]

4 Transcript, Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee in Joint Session with the Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs Meeting, Food and Drug Administration, December 16, 2003, P.38 Transcript available at: http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/03/transcripts/4015T1.pdf. Presentation by Women's Capital Corporation/Barr Laboratories representative Vivian Dickerson, MD, president-elect, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; see also: PRI's Weekly Briefing, Emergency Contraception and the Dangers to Adolescents, 5 March 2004; http://www.pop.org/main.cfm?id=215&r1=2.00&r2=2.00&r3=0.05&r4=0.00&level=3&eid=547. [Back]

5 "Birth control for teens so pregnancies go up by 10pc," Daily Mail (London), Dec. 1, 2003. Under the initiative, adolescent girls in Lothian were sent to clinics for the morning-after-pill. . . . But, while teenage pregnancy rates fell across Scotland, they rose sharply in the Lothian area to 59.1 pregnancies for every 1,000 females. [Back]

6 Dick Churchill, et al., "Consultation Patterns and Provision of Contraception in General Practice Before Teenage Pregnancy: Case-Control Study," British Medical Journal, 2000 August 19; 321 (7259): 486-489. [Back]