Their View

ontinue to put politics before science during the president’s second term? We won’t have to wait long to find out.

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to make a ruling soon on whether the morning-after emergency contraceptive known as Plan B will be made available without a doctor’s prescription.

Years of research and studies have confirmed that the only concerns about the contraceptive are political. Unless it can provide evidence to the contrary, the FDA should make Plan B available over the counter.

Plan B does not damage an existing pregnancy, so it’s not an abortion issue. The FDA has been delaying its decision solely to obtain information about the effects of Plan B on the sexual activity of teenagers.

Never mind that the FDA has never before considered the impact of a contraceptives on sexual behavior as part of the approval process.

This raises a series of troubling questions about whose morals are going to be the standard and when they should be applied.

For the record, a recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association demonstrated the availability of Plan B does not promote risky sexual behavior in women. Nor does it lead to an increase of sexually transmitted diseases.

But even if it did, that’s insufficient reason to reject the contraceptive.

Six states, including California, allow women to receive emergency contraception directly from a pharmacist. A total of 44 states make the powerful emergency contraceptives available with a doctor’s prescription.

Women should have over-the-counter access to emergency contraceptives 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Any other decision will put the FDA where it doesn’t belong — out of step with science, and in bed politically with the Bush administration.

The above editorial appeared in the San Jose Mercury News on Jan. 28 and was made available through KRTcampus.