Monday, May 05, 2008

Missouri Senators: RU-486 On Par With Morphine and Opium

Photo by pasotraspaso

RU-486 is the opium of the [female] people, according to Missouri politicians.

Missouri Senators in a vote of 34-0 approve a bill, designed to track the sale of controlled substances and cold medicines, that puts RU-486 in the same category as morphine, opium and pain pills.

Less than a half hour after the bill's passage, Sen. Norma Champion, who is anti-abortion rights and the bill's handler [is that like a bear handler?], asks the Senate to reconsider the bill minus any mention of mifepristone because:

Turns out [RU-486] wasn't supposed to be in the bill.

It was left in because of a clerical error. The House had originally tacked it on as amendment.


"There was a problem with the computer version, for one reason or another," Champion told her colleagues.

Why these Missouri politicians believe that we've all just recently fallen off a turnip truck is unclear.

First, just the fact that, at any point in crafting this bill, RU-486 was even considered for inclusion in a bill designed to track drug sales is indefensible.

Medically, there's no justification for singling out RU-486 for this degree of government intrusion. RU-486 is a safe and effective drug with no addictive potential.

Politically, the lackeys at the FDA have already taken care of regulating RU-486 based on ideology, not science.

Briefly, the FDA restricts the distribution of RU-486 because the Agency determined that post-marketing distribution restrictions on the product were necessary to ensure its safe use.

Yeah, right! To use just one example, associated deaths: Viagra 5/100,000 prescriptions; RU-486 1/100,000 prescriptions. And, unlike Viagra, RU-486 has not been shown to have contributed to any deaths.

The FDA has determined that post-marketing distribution restrictions on Viagra were not necessary to ensure its safe use.

Second, a bill with an inappropriate provision, as per the bill's handler, sails thorough and gets voted on and "oops, it was a clerical error" is deemed an acceptable excuse. Are there no controls in place to insure a bill's accuracy? What assurance do the people of Missouri have that previous bills don't contain a provision to legalize slavery, or make Satanism the official state religion? Or are we to believe that this was the one and only clerical error in the history of the Missouri Senate?

Third, and most worrisome for the people of Missouri, 34 Senators vote on a bill without bothering to read it. I don't understand how that's possible. If you're a constituent maybe you could ask each and everyone of these Senators for an explanation.

But wait, there's more!

In 'Morning after' pill restriction said to be error, an article on the debacle, Chad Livengood, reporter for the Springfield News-Leader, writes that:

RU-486, or mifepristone, is an emergency contraceptive ingested orally to prevent or delay ovulation.

Thunk, thunk goes my head as it hits the desk repeatedly.

That 34 elected officials voted to pass a bill that they hadn't even bothered to read is, perhaps, not scandalous. They are, after all, just politicians. That a reporter can't be bothered to get his facts straight is.

If your article is about the 'Morning after' pill you need to at least mention Plan B somewhere in the article. You need to also make it clear that "morning after" pill is the lay term for the post-coital emergency contraceptive Plan B. The very same Plan B that's a progestin (levonorgestrel), an emergency contraceptive ingested to prevent or delay ovulation, and, most relevant here, an OTC drug (with some politically based age restrictions).

Of course, Chad Livengood's article isn't about Plan B but rather about RU-486. The very same RU-486 that's an anti-progestin (mifepristone), an abortifacient (or an emergency contraceptive, depending on dosage and regimen) ingested to cause shedding of the uterine lining (or prevention of ovulation and endometrial shedding when used as birth control), and a drug with a federally mandated distribution restriction.

So, to recap. First, 34 Missouri Senators vote on a bill they haven't bothered to read. Then, the Senators get a do-over [you know, how you do when you're responsible for a major screw up at your job]. Finally, a Missouri newspaper can't be bothered to get the facts straight and avoid misinforming its readers.

Well done Missouri!

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