Who needs Planned Parenthood?

“When I’m elected President, I will work to defund Planned Parenthood.”

Fill in the blank with whichever Republican presidential candidate you want, and more than likely, you have an on-the-record quote. But, according to a report Monday by The Washington Post, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration is seriously considering an option that makes Planned Parenthood a moot point.

The lede of Rob Stein’s report puts the whole thing into its proper perspective:

“The federal government is grappling with the explosive question of whether to let anyone of any age buy the controversial morning-after pill Plan B directly off drugstore and supermarket shelves without a prescription.”

Teva Women’s Health, the manufacturer of the Plan B day-after pill, is insisting the FDA make the drug available on store shelves without a prescription. According to their scientific research, it is 89 percent effective at preventing a pregnancy, if taken within 72 hours of “unprotected” sexual intercourse.

The drug manufacturer’s goal: to have Plan B packets sitting on the shelf next to other contraceptives, such as prophylactics. The only thing more absurd than that would be if they put them in those little candy machines in the lobby of Toys R Us.

It flashes me back to the popular Saturday Night Live skit that lampooned HPV vaccinations for young girls. Think I’m just being hyperbolic? Try this little ditty from Stein’s report:

“In February, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries asked the agency to drop the remaining restriction, citing the results of two new studies. One involving 335 girls ages 12 to 17 showed that between 72 percent and 96 percent of them understood the proposed package label well enough to use the drug safely and effectively on their own. The second, involving about 300 girls ages 11 to 16, showed that they could use the product properly and safely, according to Teva.”

You might remember a few weeks ago I wrote an apologetics-based approach to the issue of abortion. In a nutshell, I showed how the medical profession considers a fertilized zygote to be a human being.

Fertilization can occur in as little as 20 minutes, and if the egg hasn’t been fertilized within 24 hours, it begins to deteriorate and cannot be fertilized. So, if the egg did get fertilized, and the medical profession deems that fertilized egg to be a human being, and the purpose of Plan B is to “prevent” that pregnancy from progressing, what is the logical conclusion we’re supposed to come to?

Yeah, that’s right… we’re being asked to consider prepackaging murder in a box and placing innocuously on the supermarket shelf like it’s a box of Tuna Helper. Words have no ability to convey the depth of moral depravity we’re talking about here.

So, surely, there’s going to be an information gathering period, a chance for the public to weigh in on this very important issue, right? No… ’fraid not. The FDA has until sometime today to answer the pharmaceutical company’s request.

You see, The Center for Reproductive Rights has sued the FDA for not reviewing its earlier, Bush-era decision to place age restrictions on the drug — hardly better than what is being proposed now. A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 13 on a motion to declare the agency in contempt of court.

“We think it’s important for both the original two-pill as well as the new one-pill One-Step to be available to all women of all ages,” CRR spokeswoman Nancy Northrup said. “It’s especially important for younger women, for whom cost can be an important issue.”

Cost, indeed (of the Romans 6:23 kind). Truer words have never been more accidentally spoken.

Addendum: This afternoon (Wednesday) FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement that the agency had been prepared to grant Teva’s request to lift the age requirement, which would have allowed the product to move from behind the pharmacy counter into store aisles.

But Ms. Hamburg said she was directed by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday to deny Teva’s request. In a separate statement, Ms. Sebelius said she didn’t think the data submitted by Teva was sufficient to show that Plan B should be available to girls 16 and younger without talking to a healthcare professional.

It’s not clear how that will impact the Dec. 13 contempt of court hearing in CRR’s case against the FDA.