Obama administration refuses to relax Plan B restrictions
Once again the Obama Administration sticks it to feminists, showing he will not be pushed around by feminists when practical political considerations conflict with women’s rights. HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius is claiming young women may not understand how to properly use Plan B, so she has overridden the FDA recommendation to allow Plan B to be sold to any woman without a prescription regardless of age. What a crock. Naturally the right wing is applauding the decision, which was another example of Obama triangulating, throwing the rights of women under the bus to appeal to a few of those crucial swing voters. This story is from the Washington Post
Obama administration refuses to relax Plan B restrictions
By Rob Stein, Wednesday, December 7, 9:43 AM
The Obama administration stunned women’s health advocates and abortion opponents alike Wednesday by rejecting a request to let anyone of any age buy the controversial morning-after pill Plan B directly off drugstore and supermarket shelves.
For what the Food and Drug Administration thinks is the first time, the Department of Health and Human Services overruled the agency, vetoing the FDA’s decision to make the contraceptive available without any restrictions. Revealing a rare public split, FDA Administrator Margaret A. Hamburg said her conclusion that the drug could be used safely by women of all ages was nullified by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
“There is adequate and reasonable, well-supported, and science-based evidence that Plan B One-Step is safe and effective and should be approved for nonprescription use for all females of child-bearing potential,” Hamburg said in a statement.
“However, this morning I received a memorandum from the Secretary of Health and Human Services invoking her authority under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to execute its provisions and stating that she does not agree with the Agency’s decision.”
In a statement and separate letter to Hamburg, Sebelius said she reversed the FDA’s decision because she had concluded that data submitted by the drug’s maker did not “conclusively establish” that Plan B could be used safely by the youngest girls.
“About ten percent of girls are physically capable of bearing children by 11.1 years of age. It is common knowledge that there are significant cognitive and behavioral differences between older adolescent girls and the youngest girls of reproductive age,” Sebelius said.
The decision shocked and angered the doctors, health advocates, family-planning activists, lawmakers and others who supported relaxing the restrictions to help women, including teenagers, prevent unwanted pregnancies.
“We are outraged that this administration has let politics trump science,” said Kirsten Moore of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, a Washington-based advocacy group. “This administration is unwilling to stand up to any controversy and do the right thing for women’s health. That’s shameful.”
Susan F. Wood of George Washington University, who resigned from the FDA in 2005 because of delays by the George W. Bush administration in relaxing restrictions on Plan B, said she was “beyond stunned” by the decision.
“There is no rationale that can justify HHS reaching in and overturning the FDA on the decision about this safe and effective contraception,” Wood said. “I never thought I’d see this happen again.”
Opponents of easier access, meanwhile, hailed the decision, saying relaxing the rules would have exposed girls and women to risks from taking high doses of a potent hormone and misusing the medication; interfered with parents’ ability to monitor their children; and made it easier for men to prey on vulnerable minors.
Wednesday’s decision came as the administration is trying to defuse rising tensions with the Catholic Church over several issues, including a proposed mandate that private insurers provide women with contraceptives for free and a federal denial of an anti-human-trafficking grant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
A senior White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to freely discuss the internal process, said the decision rested entirely with Sebelius, who informed the White House of her conclusion ahead of time. The administration trusted her on both the substance and politics of the issue, the official said, noting that Sebelius had been governor of Kansas, a conservative state that required deft decision-making by a Democratic governor.
A Health and Human Services spokesperson said in an e-mail that the “decision was based on a careful consideration of the science.”
President Obama pledged in 2009 to prevent politics from interfering with scientific decisions. The Bush administration had been accused of censoring federal scientists on climate change and other hot-button issues.
But Wednesday’s decision was not the first time the Obama administration has overruled the scientific advice of senior officials. In September, Obama pulled back smog standards proposed by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, saying they would impose too heavy an economic burden.
The administration has long tried to find common ground on issues related to abortion and birth control. The White House hosted meetings aimed at finding areas of agreement among activists, but the effort foundered. In 2010, the administration tried to appease both sides in the debate over sex education and abstinence, launching a campaign supporting programs of both types.
The President wants to have his cake and eat it too. By trying to please everyone, he has only shown just how willing he is to throw women under the bus. This outrageous decision rested entirely with Sebelius? If that is true, which it clearly is not, Obama ought to override her, if not fire her. He has shown on multiple occasions that he will not be pushed around by feminists, environmentalists, or antiwar activists; in the name of bipartisanship, he would rather allow himself to be pushed around by the right wing. It is high time for people to start pushing back.
Is this what a feminist looks like, Ms. Magazine? That magazine thought so highly of Obama that the cover of its edition celebrating the inauguration of Obama featured a picture of him wearing a T shirt emblazoned with, This is what a feminist looks like. I quote from that link:
Of course, we’re not wearing rose-colored glasses.
Oh no? We see how effectively mainstream feminist groups have held the feet of this President to the fire.