PURCHASE, NY—Hot on the heels of last week's FDA approval, on Monday PepsiCo subsidiary Taco Bell launched its controversial "morning after" burrito, a zesty, Mexican-style entree that prevents unwanted pregnancies if ingested within 36 hours following intercourse.
Developed by a team of top Taco Bell gynecologists, the $1.99 "ContraceptiMelt" burrito creates an inhospitable environment within the womb, causing fertilized ovum tissue to be flushed from the body.
Also available are ContraceptiMelt Supremes, featuring sour cream and extra cheese.
Taco Bell officials are excited about the offering. "In the past, before Roe v. Wade, young women literally had to 'make a run for the border' to terminate an unwanted pregnancy," Taco Bell public relations director Grant Lesko said. "But now, women can make that same run for the border at over 7,300 convenient locations right in their own hometowns."
Possible side effects of the new birth-control snack item include weight gain, stomach upset and gas, the same as with all other Taco Bell products.
"The new ContraceptiMelt is a safe, effective alternative to traditional forms of birth control that must be administered before intercourse," Lesko said. "Plus, it's delicious."
Customers who wish to purchase a ContraceptiMelt will be required to meet briefly for consultation with a registered Taco Bell counselor/cashier. The counselor will ring up the customer's order and collect money for it, then provide change, before being allowed to administer the ContraceptiMelt.
Additionally, a five- to ten-minute waiting period may be necessary during high-volume "busy periods" in the restaurant, depending on the length of the line.
"Late afternoon, like 3 p.m., is usually a good time to come in," said Gerry Frankel, an Arlington, VA, Taco Bell counselor/cashier.
While the new burrito is legal and available in all 50 states, parental-consent laws in 37 states require minors who wish to purchase the ContraceptiMelt to obtain permission from a parent or legal guardian—unless they order a side of Cinnamon Crisps and a large beverage.
Taco Bell vice-president of product research and development Marvin Sekuler expects the new product to be tremendously successful.
"All of our test marketing and demographic research indicates that among 14- to 22-year-old females, there is great demand for a quick, relatively painless termination of unwanted pregnancy via spontaneously induced rejection of fertilized, pre-fetal tissue from the uterine canal," Sekuler said. "Plus, 14- to 22-year-olds love delicious, Mexican-style fast-food products. We're thrilled that our newest menu item can meet both these important needs in a lip-smacking, tasty way."
While he hopes that many young women will purchase the new burrito, Sekuler stressed that the decision to terminate a pregnancy is an individual one.
"We are in no way advocating any particular view on this most sensitive of issues," he said. "We simply want to offer this option. And, of course, we fully respect our customers who decide to carry their babies to term. In fact, I'd like to point out that Taco Bell offers a wide variety of non-contraceptive menu items that can provide the crucial nutrients—such as mild sauce, shredded cheddar and beef—that a growing fetus needs to develop properly."
Sekuler noted that every pregnacy terminated by the Taco Bell ContraceptiMelt comes with a special guarantee.
"If any one of our customers becomes pregnant after consuming our new burrito, the Taco Bell Corporation will, guaranteed, hire that person to work for us at $6.25 per hour," he said. "Taco Bell's competitive, above-minimum-wage salaries; flexible schedules; and fun, team-oriented atmosphere make it the ideal place for a young, single mother, enabling her to provide for herself and her children with uninsured subsistence living."
Pending FDA approval, Taco Bell plans to follow up the ContraceptiMelt with the RU-486 MexiCarriage Deluxe. Already legal in France, the MexiCarriage Deluxe costs $1.59 if purchased during the first MexiMester, $1.79 during the second and $1.99 during the third.