(CNSNews.com) - A pro-life group said it is "cautiously optimistic" over the FDA's announcement that it will wait until May to decide if the morning-after pill called 'Plan B' should be sold over the counter.
The Food and Drug Administration was supposed to issue its final decision this week. It announced the 90-day delay on Friday.
"It appears that the FDA is displaying uncharacteristic prudence by taking the time to scientifically study the lasting effects this drug [Plan B] has on women and to consider the societal effects making such a drug available over the counter to minors might have," the American Life League said in a statement.
The group said it hopes the FDA's delay is an earnest effort to consider the health impact of the drug. Moreover, the ALL is encouraging the FDA to remove Plan B and similar drugs from the market altogether.
"This drug should never have been made legal," said Joseph Giganti, ALL's director of media and government relations.
"It was never properly screened by the FDA," he said. The adverse health effects, according to ALL, include blood clotting, loss of fertility and ectopic pregnancies.
Pro-life activists also say Plan B and other morning-after pills can cause the chemical abortion of babies in the earliest stages of life.
Planned Parenthood has strongly urged the FDA to make emergency contraception available to women and girls without a prescription.
On Friday, Planned Parenthood accused the FDA of choosing politics over science, by delaying its decision on emergency contraception.
"This delay is a politically transparent roadblock," PPFA President Gloria Feldt said in a press release.
"There is no scientific reason to make women wait even one more day for this important method of contraception. Comprehensive scientific data shows that Plan B is safe and effective and meets the FDA's criteria for over-the-counter status.
"The delay announced today proves that anti-choice ideology is trumping scientific fact - at the expense of women's health," Feldt said.
The American Life League said it's not surprising that Planned Parenthood opposes any delay in making Plan B available to anyone who walks into a drugstore.
ALL said Planned Parenthood earns money from the sale of emergency contraception and it stands to make much more money if the drug is granted over-the-counter status.
"This continued opposition to any objective, scientific stud of these matters again proves that Planned Parenthood is more interested in the almighty dollar than they are in the life, health and well-being of women or their children," ALL's Giganti said.
An FDA panel voted 24-3 to recommend that the FDA make emergency contraception available over the counter at a hearing on Dec. 16, 2003.
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