Democratic Senators Call on Sebelius to 'Explain the Science' Behind Plan B Decision

December 19, 2011 - 12:16 AM

sebelius

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – Fourteen Democratic U.S. Senators, led by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), have sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, demanding that she explain the scientific rationale behind her decision to overrule the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and continue to limit the over-the-counter availability of the Plan B One Step “emergency contraceptive.”

Earlier this month, Sebelius overruled an FDA recommendation that Plan B be available for sale over-the-counter to girls under 17.

The letter expresses disappointment over the decision.

“On behalf of the millions of women we represent, we want to be assured that this and future decisions affecting women’s health will be based on medical and scientific evidence,” the senators wrote.

“We feel strongly that FDA regulations should be based on science,” the letter stated.

“We ask that you share with us your specific rationale and the scientific data you relied on for the decision to overrule the FDA recommendation. On behalf of the millions of women we represent, we want to be assured that this and future decisions affecting women’s health will be based on medical and scientific evidence.”

Wendy Wright, interim executive director of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a leading voice of opposition to over-the-counter availability Plan B, told CNSNews.com there are valid scientific reasons why Plan B should not be handed out to girls under 17.

“The senators have given the secretary a platform to explain why the science is on her side,” she said.  “I hope she responds with a well-thought out remark because the science is there. There is no data on extended use by teenagers. Plan B contains a higher dose than birth control and the usage by teenagers will increase if it is made available over-the-counter because a prescription is needed for birth control.”

“Teenagers are not adults,” Wright added.

The letter was sent from Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).