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FDA official quits over Plan B ruling

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WASHINGTON, Aug 31, 2005 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The head of the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Women's Health resigned Wednesday to protest the delayed approval of the Plan B contraceptive pill.

The Washington Post reports Susan F. Wood, an assistant FDA commissioner for women's health since 2000, wrote in her resignation e-mail that FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford's decision Friday to put the approval of the over-the-counter "morning after pill" on hold was not scientifically based.

Plan B, taken within 72 hours of intercourse, will either inhibit fertilization of the egg or stop the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus.

Plan B is available with a prescription, and both FDA scientists and those at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research have said it is safe for over-the-counter use.

Crawford said he wants a formal ruling to determine if it could legally be allowed for women over 17-years-old and available by prescription only for those under 17.

Opponents of Plan B view the pill as a form of abortion and bombarded White House phone lines in the days leading to Crawford's decision to put approval of the pill on hold.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International.

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