Judging Without Justice

March 25, 2009 09:00 AM

Those Americans who have a true grasp of what justice meant to our founding fathers must be a bit perplexed by the actions of Eastern District Court of New York Judge Edward R. Korman who has ordered the U.S. government’s Food and Drug Administration to permit the dispensing of Plan B to 17-year-old girls! 
His decision is 52 pages long, but the pertinent quote is this: 
 

The FDA is also ordered to permit Barr Pharmaceuticals, Inc. the Plan B drug sponsor, to make Plan B available to 17 year olds without a prescription, under the same conditions as Plan B is now available to women over the age of 18. The latter order should be complied with within thirty days.


Since when is it just, let alone logical, for one judge to have the final word in a matter that could affect the health and well-being of millions of women, not to mention the lives of countless preborn children? The answer is obvious: those who have fostered the culture of death in this country have always gone to the courts when they could not have their way in the court of public opinion or in the halls of Congress. This is but another in a long line of judicial actions designed to set aside health and well being in favor of politics, bank accounts and death for the preborn. 

The Gestapo-like tactic by this District Court judge is troublesome nonetheless. If this judicial order stands, we will have witnessed a second act within the past few weeks that literally compromises the ethics of men and women of the medical profession who refuse to dispense any chemical that can abort a preborn child. Since Plan B does have the capacity to act as an early-days abortion, what will this “order” mean to these nurses, doctors and pharmacists?  Will they have the opportunity to say “no” without making a referral?  If not, they will be forced to either act in a manner that makes them complicit or they will have to find work elsewhere.

Conscientious objection will become a sure-fire road to a pink slip! 

What about those parents who would be contacted if a daughter required any other type of seriously complex medication, but won’t even know if their 17-year-old ingests the pills until it is too late. There are, after all, females who have complicated health problems that would prohibit them from taking this drug, but no doctor need be involved in the dispensing of the drug if our reading of this decision is accurate and it is!

Suppose that a 17-year-old acquires the pills for her 13-year-old sexually active sister!  Will their parents know?

Clearly there is nothing even remotely resembling sound medical practice in the decision this judge handed down with apparent impunity.  Who is going to hold him accountable for practicing medicine without a license?  Nobody will of course, because judges have the power to make decisions that can destroy human beings … Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton proved that years ago.

How did this judge have the opportunity to even consider this matter in the first place?  Here’s the story.  In 2005, the Center for Reproductive Rights along with other groups filed a lawsuit because the FDA had decided against providing Plan B over the counter without a prescription. According to their press statement issued shortly after the Korman order on March 23,
 

Today, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York ruled that the Food and Drug Administration decision to limit access to the emergency contraceptive Plan B to women over 18 violated its established rules.  The agency was ordered to reconsider its decision based on scientific evidence alone. The agency’s decision was made under the Bush administration.
 

The suggestion here is, of course, that had the FDA made its decision under Obama, as it obviously will now, nobody would be concerned about the ethical questions I have already raised in this commentary.  After all, there is a huge difference in the perspectives of the two men and their administrations, at least on some subjects.

Nancy Northup, President of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said, “Today’s ruling is a tremendous victory for all Americans who expect the government to safeguard their health not undermine it.”

Excuse us for being so apparently uninformed, but since when does a government “safeguard health” by doling out dangerous birth control chemicals in the same way Walgreen’s sells chewing gum?
Northrup continued,


The court recognized that the FDA favored politics over science, ideology over women’s health, and violated the law in the process.

Emergency contraception is proven safe and effective and today, we have succeeded in expanding access to 17-year-olds and are one step closer to making it fully available to all women, including young women for whom the barriers – and the benefits – are so great.
 

Well, Ms. Northrup, as usual, you and your cronies are blowing smoke.

Emergency contraception is not safe for preborn children and it does have a lengthy list of side effects.  According to RX List, the Internet Drug Index, there is a laundry list of side effects and a comment or two about conditions and medications being taken for other ailments that might complicate matters. 

Under “drug interactions,” it states
 

Theoretically, the effectiveness of low-dose progestin-only pills is reduced by hepatic enzyme-inducing drugs such as the anticonvulsants phenytoin, carbamazepine, and barbiturates, and the antituberculosis drug rifampin. No significant interaction has been found with broad-spectrum antibiotics. It is not known whether the efficacy of Plan B® would be affected by these or any other medications.
 

The words, “it is not known,” should have been enough to forestall the judge’s order.  But who’s paying attention to the facts?

Clearly the last thing on anyone’s mind during this media frenzy has been the health and well being of the female, regardless of her age.  Facts don’t seem to make good public relations for these people, never have and never will.

It is probably no coincidence that just one day before this judge handed down his decision, I received a heart wrenching e-mail from an anonymous nurse who asked whether or not it was ethical for her to be involved in the dispensing of Plan B in the hospital where she was working.

I gave her question to our medical expert, Anthony Dardano, M.D. who wrote her as follows:
 

[T]his is a difficult problem that affects all health-care professionals.  One must remember that formal cooperation is wrong as well.  Physicians have it the easiest.  They are autonomous. They can say they morally object to something and that's it.  They cannot however say they can't do something and refer you to someone who does.  This is formal cooperation and is equally unacceptable.

Nurses, pharmacists, etc., must follow the same path even though their practice is not autonomous.  When they morally object to a procedure or prescription, they must simply say they are declining on the basis of a moral objection.  They must also make it clear that they can do no more and to assist is morally objectionable as well.  This is our right. …


What Dr. Dardano has said should give every one of us pause to reconsider the sobering effect the Korman decision will have. We should be asking what parents could do to protect their children from the drug abuse that will occur due to this judge’s decision, if indeed the Obama FDA concurs in that decision.  We should acknowledge that the drug culture just expanded and it may not stop there.

As the New York Times reported: 


Susan F. Wood, a former F.D.A. director of women’s health who resigned in 2005 to protest the handling of Plan B, said Monday that the judge’s decision to send the drug back for reconsideration signaled hope of the agency’s ability to act independently under a new administration.

There is a new chance to “restore the scientific integrity of the F.D.A.,” said Ms. Wood, now a professor of public health at George Washington University.


Wood’s statement is a tragically incongruous.  Scientific integrity begins with a complete willingness to be totally transparent about complications, side effects including the possibility of aborting a preborn human being and requirements that protect those women of any age who have serious medical problems that could well create a tragedy if such a chemical is ingested after having received it over the counter.  None of these requirements have been met by Wood and her allies.

Scientific integrity, like justice, cannot coexist with deceit, denial and deliberate distractions.

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