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Democracy, Health

Morning After the Morning After Pill Brouhaha

Funny political strategy this White House has.  Go out of your way to piss off the people that you are counting on as your base support.  Today’s installment is……

HHS overrules the FDA in limiting OTC availability of emergency contraception, aka the morning after pill, aka Plan B (not to be confused with Herman Cain’s Plan B).  As reported:

The Food and Drug Administration was preparing to lift a controversial age limit and make Plan B One-Step the nation’s first over-the-counter emergency contraceptive, available for purchase by people of any age without a prescription.

But Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius intervened at the eleventh hour and overruled her own experts.

Plan B instead will remain behind the pharmacy counter, as it is sold today — available without a prescription only for those 17 and older who show an ID proving their age

Apparently, adding intrigue to the apparent desire to make those that prioritize reproductive health as angry as possible, this is the first time that an HHS Secretary has ever overruled the FDA.  Yes…ironically, as sexually active teenagers find out too frequently, the first time is usually a bad decision looked upon with regret.

Strange trend this administration is developing.  Two steps forward and one step back.  Or maybe it’s one step forward and two steps back?  First, banning federal funds for abortions in order to pass health care reform.  Then taking to good step of making birth control coverage mandatory under the new health care act.  However, then this Plan B brouhaha which comes on the heels of reports of concerns that the administration was open to rolling back a previous decision regarding mandatory coverage of contraception, by providing exemptions to Catholic hospitals, insurance companies, clinics, etc.

This is all The exemptions are actually less problematic to me given the religious questions involved.  I’m sure if we were dictating how Muslim or Jewish hospitals should run, there might be some pause.  So I pause.  But this other stuff seems like the White House is playing political football with women’s reproductive rights, which if true, would clearly not be cool.

And why do I care?  Well, I know that if I were a teenager, I would be pissed right now.  I mean, looking back, Plan B would have been the wonderdrug.   I can’t tell you the number of headaches and amount of child support I would have been saved if Plan B were readily available to me.

(That’s a joke btw…)

But seriously, I am trying to live up to the “feminist” card that Ms Makeda bestowed on me years ago.  And beyond rights, the concrete issue with not providing Plan B as OTC is that it is a time sensitive drug.  So if one has to wait for it, well, forget the stork, that’s how babies are made.  So in a backwards way, not allowing it OTC will lead to more abortions.

I’m no political expert, but, like I said, quite the bizarre strategy indeed…



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