Pro-Lifers Upset with Bush Over Support for Morning-after Abortion Pill

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By Jody Brown – August 22, 2006

(AgapePress) – Several pro-life groups are expressing strong disappointment in President Bush’s apparent support for making Plan B — the “morning-after” pill — available to women over the age of 18 without a prescription. At least one of them sees the president’s stance as inconsistent with his recent veto of legislation favoring extended funding for embryonic stem-cell research.

One month ago President Bush exercised the first veto of his two-term presidency when he refused to sign the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (H.R. 810/S. 471), saying it crossed “a moral boundary that our decent society needs to respect.” That measure would have overturned his policy of funding research without promoting the ongoing unethical destruction of human embryos to derive their stem cells.

But the president’s nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, recently told senators at his confirmation hearing that he decided to consider letting women 18 and older purchase Plan B over the counter — and Bush told reporters yesterday that while he believes Plan B “ought to require a prescription for minors,” he supports von Eschenbach’s decision. That has prompted comments and criticism from several pro-life groups, one of them suggesting it could alienate Catholics.

Human Life International released a statement titled “President Bush Files for Divorce with Catholic Base.” That group’s president, Rev. Thomas Euteneuer, tells Associated Press that supporting OTC sales of the morning-after pill could undermine the president’s Catholic support.

“Catholics believe, as do many other Christians and non-Christians, that human life begins at the moment of fertilization, which is the moment when the sperm and the egg meet and they form a new human person with distinct DNA [that is] biologically different from mother and father,” says Euteneuer. “One of [the drug’s] mechanisms is to stop the fertilized human egg from entering into the uterus and [being] implanted [there]. It expels the fertilized [egg], and therefore it’s an abortion-causing drug.

“We thought that President Bush saw the difference — apparently he doesn’t,” notes Euteneuer. “What the president apparently fails to realize is that Plan B kills the same innocent unborn children that the [embryonic stem-cell research] process does.”

Judie Brown of American Life League wonders what has happened to the president’s campaign promises of respecting the dignity of every human person and promoting a “culture of life.” She suggests that Bush’s apparent support for OTC availability of Plan B indicates that, once again, “politics have … trumped the innocent babies.”

“It is no secret,” says Brown, “that Plan B can and does take the lives of newly conceived babies in the days immediately following fertilization.” And by endorsing von Eschenbach proposal, the president “is apparently doing anything but protecting innocent human life,” says the ALL president.

Adds Brown: “As long as President Bush continues to claim to be pro-life, we urge him to put actions behind his words and pull his support for Plan B at once.”

Another pro-life leader sees a contradiction in Bush’s actions and his words. Stephen Peroutka, chairman of the National Pro-Life Action Center, says the president’s implied support of OTC status for Plan B “is a betrayal of the pro-life principles he claims to support.” Should the drug be made available over-the-counter, says Peroutka, “it will give adult male predators another weapon in their arsenal against young women.”

Peroutka’s executive vice president concurs. “By giving his tacit approval of OTC status for Plan B,” says Kimberly Zenarolla, “[the president] is advocating for the destruction of innocent human life, while exposing women and young girls to untold health risks and abuse.”

Finally, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council points out that taking physicians out of the equation is a “prescription for a disaster.”

“The decision [to make Plan B available over the counter] sets a precedent for replacing doctors with pharmacists and others in the medical decision-making process,” says Perkins. “Doctors, not pharmacists, are equipped to oversee the use of drugs such as Plan B.”

But Human Life International’s Euteneuer sounds a pessimistic note, saying the process is already set in motion. “[A]nd now with President Bush sort of giving it his imprimatur, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything to stop it,” he says.

By Jody Brown, AgapePress – Copyright, 2006. All Rights Reserved.

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