Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Worst Argument Yet

There've been a lot of rather dumb arguments against allowing Plan B to be sold over the counter. But one in yesterday's New York Times, from Concerned Women of America president Wendy Wright, takes the cake:
There’s clearly no way that the F.D.A. or Barr Labs could put a gender restriction on who buys the drug. You could have a statutory rapist buy the drug in order to cover up his abuse.

So, we shouldn't allow Plan B to be sold over the counter because it might be used to prevent teenage pregnancy? That's like banning e-mail because it lets people keep in touch with each other. Forbidding the Salk vaccine because it protects kids from polio. Stopping free trade because it lets us buy cheap stuff.

Oh, wait.

Anyway, the article on the whole appears to be good news: the FDA's acting commissioner, Andrew von Eschenbach, is willing to go ahead and approve Plan B for over-the-counter sales. Likely just political grandstanding, since his confirmation hearing was today, but potentially good news nonetheless.

And you know, I can't stand Hillary Clinton, but on occasion she does something legitimately good:
Assuming that the committee approves Dr. von Eschenbach’s nomination, Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Murray said they would block a floor vote on his confirmation until the F.D.A. made a final yes-or-no decision on the drug’s sale. Under Senate rules, any senator may place a “hold” on a floor vote to approve a nominee.

The senators removed a similar hold last year that had blocked a former F.D.A. commissioner, Lester Crawford, who then faced confirmation hearings. At that time, Dr. Crawford assured them that a decision on the drug would be made by Sept. 1, 2005, the senators said.

“We lifted our hold in July 2005 on Dr. Crawford’s nomination after receiving assurances that the F.D.A. would act by September,” Mrs. Clinton said. “Instead, what they did was to make a decision, and their decision was not to make a decision. Almost a year later, we’re still waiting for a decision.”


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