“Mr. Whitmire clearly doesn’t understand the science,” Reed said. “It works by inhibiting fertilization, so it can’t affect pregnant women at all.”
But Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the N.C. Values Coalition, said she supports the bill’s stance that Plan B can cause fertilized eggs to spontaneously abort.
“Teaching school-aged children that these drugs are ‘contraceptives’ misleads our youth and can lead to heartache and regret when the truth is revealed to them,” Fitzgerald said.
The FDA first approved Plan B in 2009 for use without a prescription for women 17 and older and as a prescription-only option for women younger than 17. According to the FDA, Plan B will not stop pregnancy once a woman is already pregnant, and there isn’t evidence the product will harm a fetus.
In 2013, the FDA guaranteed access to Plan B without a prescription for all women of childbearing age.
Reed said that Plan B and other emergency contraceptives are a valuable resource to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
“Young women have used contraceptives successfully for many years, and abortion is actually decreasing in North Carolina together with teen pregnancy rate partially due to greater access of contraceptives,” she said.
The pregnancy rate for women ages 15 to 19 in North Carolina dropped by 11 percent in 2013, hitting a record low for the sixth consecutive year, according to the annual report from the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina.
Reed also expressed concerns about the part of the bill that allows N.C. school districts to design their own sexual education materials.
“A great majority of parents in North Carolina strongly want comprehensive sexual education in school,” Reed said. “So this bill is definitely not a thing North Carolina parents would want.”