Should all girls “of child bearing age” be able to walk into the corner pharmacy and buy Plan B without ID, age restrictions or parental supervision? I don’t think so!
However, my professional organization, the American Academy of Family Practice, issued a statement this week advocating for just that. Our online newsletter included my comments in an article published today:
On the other hand, family physician Beverly Nuckols, M.D., of New Braunfels, Texas, said she has issues with the Academy statement because it is inconsistent with its own Family Medicine, Scope and Philosophical Statement.
“Family physicians not only treat the patient within the context of her family, we also strive to treat the whole patient — ‘biological, behavioral (and) social,'” Nuckols said. “In this case, the ‘disease’ we are trying to prevent is the high-risk behavior of unprotected sex. Parental involvement is vital to the health of children and is the best prevention for high-risk behavior, including adolescent sexual activity.
“The AAFP normally and correctly advocates parental involvement and intervention to prevent other high-risk activity, such as driving without a license, the use of guns without adult supervision, smoking, or overeating, etc.,” she said. “What is the rationale for treating adolescent sexual activity any differently than we would treat other risky behavior or preventable risk factor?”
Nuckols, who serves as chair of the Christian Medical & Dental Association’s Family Medicine Section, said she also has concerns about OTC Plan B One-Step because there are few controlled, randomized studies that prove levonorgestrel to be medically safe and effective for adolescents at the dosage given.
“The published data on emergency contraception don’t break out the numbers of adolescent girls, but the numbers appear to be low,” she said. “The closest I’ve found are small studies for treatment of menstrual disorders and inherited bleeding disorders by chronic use of oral or intrauterine levonorgestrel, with the youngest age at 14.”
(BTW, The author quoted my written statement, exactly, so any errors are mine. I goofed in identifying myself to the author: Much to my relief, our CMDA Family Medicine Section elected a new Chair and I’m now the Past-Chair. I didn’t realize we had passed the turn-over date. Oh, and “data” really is plural, so “data … don’t” is not terrible grammar, just awkward.)
Christian Medical Association: Contraception mandate fits pattern of assaults on conscience and religious liberty
Washington, DC–February 9, 2012: The 16,000-member Christian Medical Association today issued a statement asserting that the government’s mandate of contraception coverage nationwide fits a growing pattern of assaulting and restricting First Amendment freedoms of conscience and faith.
CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens noted, “The government contraception mandate violates the First Amendment rights and sensibilities of any individual or organization morally committed to life-honoring faith principles. The coercion likewise tramples the conscience rights of health care professionals ethically committed to the historic Hippocratic oath. And it fits a deplorable pattern of disregard for First Amendment freedoms.
“In the past three years, people of faith and conscience have witnessed the gutting of the only federal regulation protecting the exercise of conscience in health care; the denial of federal grant funds for aiding human trafficking victims because a faith-based organization refused to participate in abortion; the administration’s lobbying of the Supreme Court to restrict faith-based organizations’ hiring rights; and a coercive contraceptive mandate that imposes the government’s ideology on the faith-based and pro-life communities.
“The contraception mandate’s affront to religious freedom actually extends well beyond the Catholic Church, since many physicians and patients outside the Catholic tradition hold that it is morally or ethically wrong to risk ending the life of a developing human being by using pills such as ella and the morning-after pill. These pills are falsely promoted as ordinary contraceptives despite clear FDA label warnings that ‘ella may also work by preventing attachment (implantation) to the uterus’ and that the morning-after pill (Plan B) “may inhibit implantation by altering the endometrium.'”
“To force every American to subsidize an ideological agenda that many find morally or ethically abhorrent is the antithesis of American First Amendment freedoms of religion and conscience.
“The First Amendment issue of religious and conscience liberty impacts Americans of all political stripes. Conscience freedoms protect Americans left, right and center, on issues ranging from abortion to the death penalty, from participation in war to the right to protest political actions such as we are witnessing now.
“Every American, regardless of political persuasion, should be protesting these assaults on our freedoms and contacting legislators to enact conscience-protecting legislation such as the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, introduced in the House by Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb. 1st) and in the Senate by Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).
“As Dr. Martin Luther King reminds us, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.'”
To remedy the assault on religious liberty and conscience freedoms, the Christian Medical Association supports the following legislation:
S. 1467 – Respect for Rights of Conscience Act
S. 906 – No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act
S. 877 – Protect Life Act
S. 165 – Abortion Non-Discrimination Act
H.R. 1179 – Respect for Rights of Conscience Act
H.R. 361 – Abortion Non-Discrimination Act
H.R. 358 – Protect Life Act
H.R. 3 – No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act
Senate Democrats Block Debate on Religious Freedom Amendment
‘Our founders believed so strongly that the government should neither establish a religion, nor prevent its free exercise that they listed it as the very first item in the Bill of Rights. And Republicans are trying today to reaffirm that basic right. But Democrats won’t allow it.’
Washington, D.C.– U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement on the Senate floor Thursday regarding the Democrats’ refusal to allow consideration of an amendment on the Obama administration’s mandate in the health care law that violates the First Amendment rights of religious institutions:
“Our country is unique in the world because it was established on the basis of an idea: that we are all endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights — in other words, rights that are conferred not by a king or a president or a Congress, but by the Creator himself. The state protects these rights, but it doesn’t grant them.
“And what the state doesn’t grant, the state can’t take away. That’s what this week’s debate on a particularly odious outcome from the President’s health care law has been about: Our founders believed so strongly that the government should neither establish a religion, nor prevent its free exercise that they listed it as the very first item in the Bill of Rights.
“And Republicans are trying today to reaffirm that basic right. But Democrats won’t allow it. They won’t allow those of us who were sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution to even offer an amendment that says we believe in our First Amendment right to religious freedom. I never thought I’d see the day. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life defending the First Amendment. But I never thought I’d see the day when the elected representatives of the people of this country would be blocked by a majority party in Congress to even express their support for it.”
Vice President for Government Relations
Christian Medical Association – est. 1931, now 16,000 members
CMA Washington office: P.O. Box 16351 • Washington, DC 20041
703.723.8688 • http://www.cmawashington.org
Director, Freedom2Care – 50 groups and 29,000 individuals advancing conscience rights
http://www.Freedom2Care.org Twitter: @Freedom2Care