Saturday, September 03, 2005

FDA official resigns in protest over morning-after pill

Washington, Sep. 01 ( - A ranking official of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has resigned in protest over the agency's decision not to grant immediate approval for over-the-counter sales of the "morning-after" pill.

Susan Wood, the director of the FDA's Office of Women's Health, announced that she was leaving the agency after Commissioner Lester Crawford announced that the FDA was postponing a final decision on full approval of the pill known as Plan B, which is taken after intercourse.

Wood complained that postponing the decision would "limit women's access to a produce that would reduce unintended pregnancies and reduce abortions." The decision, she complained, was "contrary to my core commitment to improving and advancing women's health."

The "morning-after" pill, designed to be used after a woman engages in sexual intercourse, has been the focus of a tense debate in Washington. Although proponents of the pill argue that it would cut down on demand for abortions, opponents point out that if conception has taken place, the pill's effect is to cause the death of the embryo-- that is, to cause an abortion.

FDA Commissioner Crawford had been under heavy pressure to approve pharmacy sales of the morning-after pill for all women. Crawford indicated that he is concerned about purchase of the pill by teenage girls if the pill is approved for sale without a prescription.

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