Planned Parenthood and allies: Large doses of steroids ‘extremely safe’ for teens
This article originally appeared in this issue of the WSR: 2012-12-12

ACTION ALERT:  Tell HHS Secretary Sebelius to keep age restrictions on Plan B!

Twelve organizations signing a December 7 letter to HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius are on record saying that the steroidal concoction known as Plan B, a so-called “emergency contraceptive,” is “extremely safe for teenagers to use.”

The letter petitions Sebelius to remove age restrictions on over-the-counter purchases of the so-called emergency contraceptives, saying that unfettered access to Plan B to “women of all ages” would result in fewer unintended pregnancies. Currently, those below the age of 17 cannot purchase Plan B without a prescription.

Of course, Planned Parenthood is among the signers. Joining Planned Parenthood is the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)—not a surprise, since the organization recently called for pediatricians to prescribe emergency contraception in advance for teens so they could use it “in case of unprotected sex.”

Thankfully, another prominent pediatric professional association takes an opposite position. The American College of Pediatricians issued a press release on December 3 opposing the AAP’s recommendation that pediatricians prescribe EC in advance for teens, saying:

Research has consistently shown that increased access to “emergency contraception” (EC) does not result in lower pregnancy rates among adolescents and young adults, but can be associated with an increased incidence of sexually transmitted infections. Despite self-reports denying it, “ready access” to EC apparently increases the sexual activity of adolescents which is a risk factor for depression and suicide, poor school performance, more lifetime sexual partners, and an increased divorce rate.

The college points to further problems with unsupervised use of the drugs:

The human brain does not reach full maturity until early adulthood and, therefore, adolescents fundamentally need the guidance of their parents in decision-making. Bypassing parental involvement with advance prescriptions for emergency contraception is not best for adolescents as EC can cause adverse side effects including heavy/irregular menstrual bleeding and pelvic pain. Any use of EC requires close monitoring.

Ready access to EC may persuade an adolescent who has been sexually assaulted to avoid treatment by an emergency department, foregoing a forensic exam, and losing the benefit of sexual assault teams trained to counsel her. Such avoidance will only lead to more sexual assaults as the perpetrator is not pursued.

A January 2010 position paper from the college points out even more problems with over-the-counter access. Entitled “The ‘Morning After’ Pill: A Risk to Pediatric Patients,” the paper says:

[The MAP (Morning After Pill)] also interacts with a wide variety of drugs, a fact unlikely to be known by unsupervised users. Under physician supervision, these effects are better managed, including the potentially dangerous possibility of MAP use with ectopic pregnancy. The long-term risk of breast and cervical cancer with the use or overuse of this high-dose synthetic hormone (up to 15 times that of oral contraceptives) is largely unknown. Lower-dose oral contraceptives are available only by prescription; the MAP deserves at the least the same physician oversight.

Furthermore, while the MAP is chemically different from the “abortion pill” (RU-486) and does not abort an embryo already implanted in the uterus, it can act as an abortifacient since it “may also prevent . . . attachment of a fertilized egg to the uterus (implantation.)” Therefore, by this mechanism, it can, in fact, terminate the life of a human child.

With so much potential for harm when adolescents ingest Plan B, why would any professional pediatric association speak in terms of it being extremely safe for teens to take on an over-the-counter basis?

A chart on the American College of Pediatricians website sheds some light. The American Academy of Pediatrics follows the Planned Parenthood agenda to a “T.” It fully endorses same-sex co-parent adoption and believes that same-sex union is equivalent to heterosexual marriage for childrearing. AAP opposes parental notification, is not opposed to abortion, opposes rights of conscience for physicians, and prefers the condom/safer-sex approach to sex education.

Once again, political correctness trumps the safety and welfare of our most precious commodity—our children.

Hormonal contraceptives such as the pill require a prescription, which means medical supervision of the patient consuming them and probable involvement of parents. So-called emergency contraception like Plan B contains identical compounds, only at strengths up to 15 times greater. Making these high dose drugs available to young girls without a prescription sets them up for abuse and provides easy cover for their abusers, in step with abortion and contraception.

Cecile Richards said in a fundraising letter she sent out this week that the work she is most proud of is “what happens every time someone walks through the doors of a Planned Parenthood health center. That’s when the fight to protect women’s health and rights matters most. That’s when the care and compassion that drives me, that drives you, changes the lives of women, men, and young people.”

How does handing adolescents dangerous steroidal hormones with no oversight protect women’s health? How could that possibly be a point of pride for anyone, even Planned Parenthood? It is neither care nor compassion in action—it is unbridled abuse of our daughters and granddaughters. These teens deserve our care and protection, not dangerous drugs that enable their abusers and set them up for life-threatening consequences while aborting already conceived pre-implanted children.

You can visit our Action Center any time after Thursday morning, December 13, to send an automated letter or e-mail to Kathleen Sebelius voicing your objection to removing age limitations on over-the-counter sales of so-called emergency contraceptives like Plan B.

If you would like to send a handwritten letter or email her today, her contact information is below.

Kathleen Sebelius
Secretary of Health and Human Services
United States Department of Health and Human Services
Hubert H. Humphrey Building
200 Independence Avenue, SW, Room 120F
Washington, D.C. 20201
E-mail: kathleen.sebelius@hhs.gov
Fax: 202-690-7203