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Friday, October 21, 2016

Obama Administration Moves To Block Making ‘Plan B’ Pill Accessible To Teenagers

Barack Obama, Kathleen Sebelius, Bonnie Frawley

The Obama administration took a surprising step against women’s reproductive rights on Wednesday. An appeal on behalf of the Department of Justice has been filed in response to a measure that would make Plan B, or the “morning after pill,” available over the counter to girls 15 years of age and older.

U.S. district judge Edward R. Korman, who was appointed to his seat in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan, told the Food and Drug Administration back on April 5th that they had 30 days to make the contraceptive more accessible. “These emergency contraceptives would be among the safest drugs sold over the counter; the number of 11-year-olds using these drugs is likely to be minuscule,” Korman said. “The FDA permits drugs that it has found to be unsafe for the pediatric population to be sold over the counter subject only to labeling restrictions, and its point-of-sale restriction on this safe drug is likewise inconsistent with its policy and the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act as it has been construed.”

Currently, teenagers under the age of 17 can only obtain Plan B and its generic equivalents by prescription from a doctor. Past age 17, women must request the contraceptive from the pharmacist and provide proper identification. The purchase of male contraceptives does not entail an age restriction, nor require identification to purchase.

According to a new study, over two-thirds of women surveyed would like to see birth control made available over the counter. Studies also find that access to birth control would decrease both unintended pregnancies and abortion rates.

Some anxiety over making Plan B over-the-counter stems from the potential health risks, although the Washington Post reports, “The FDA concluded in December 2011 that the pill is safe for over-the-counter use among women of all ages, without consulting a physician.” Other concerns are in connection to parents’ right to know what their children are doing, yet considering the percentage of teenagers who are sexually active, providing them options in dire circumstances is necessary. Making the contraceptive accessible won’t create a situation of excessive use, particularly because even the generic of Plan B can cost upward of $50—an expense a majority of teenagers just cannot afford.

President Obama hasn’t yet provided a statement on this issue. However, during a press briefing on Wednesday, Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “The president, the White House did not weigh in on this decision and I have not had a discussion with the president about that issue.  What I can say is, as you saw in the past when there was a decision that was more sweeping, Secretary Sebelius made a decision to modify that or change it based on her views about the inadequacy of the data available for younger girls and teens of reproductive age that the president supported.  But this is a different decision and I haven’t got any presidential input for you on it.”

Women’s rights organizations are not pleased with this Department of Justice decision. “The federal court has made clear that these stalling tactics were based purely on politics, not science,” said Nancy Northrup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, “We are deeply disappointed that just days after President Obama proclaimed his commitment to women’s reproductive rights, his administration has decided once again to deprive women of their right to obtain emergency contraception without unjustified and burdensome restrictions.”

President of the National Organization for Women, Terry O’Neill, said, “President Obama should practice what he preaches,” calling this action a “step backwards for women’s health.”

Judge Korman critically stated, “the invocation of the adverse effect of Plan B on 11-year-olds is an excuse to deprive the overwhelmingly majority of women of their right to obtain contraceptives without unjustified and burdensome restrictions.”

The Justice Department’s appeal stated that Korman overstepped his authority and has deferred the decision until the claim and appeal are fully reviewed.

AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • holyreality

    Does this help the drug company’s lobbying efforts?

    This answer determines the Whitehouse response to the Plan B mandate.

    Medical cannabis is in the crosshairs of the Justice Dept, with landlords in CA being warned of forty(!) year sentences for a tenant’s grow operations. For some reason, the Obama Administration(regime) has a major hard on for flower growers yet leaves fertilizer plants unmolested by inspectors.

  • If the Obama administration thinks they are going to mitigate GOP intransigence by extending olive branches or capitulating on issues important to Democrats, they are sadly mistaken. If anything, conservatives will see these overtures to compromise as signs of weakness and will demand more.

    Denying young girls, who need guidance and parental care to subsist, access to the morning after pill does not make sense. The last thing we need are children trying to support children, homeless kids, malnurished children, and the likelihood of kids growing up without the care and mentoring they need to become productive and responsible citizens.

    • jgsoliveira

      Like the Catholic church. Do no abort. Do not ask us for help raising the child either.

  • latebloomingrandma

    I have a lot of mixed feelings about this. Since the medication presumably causes bleeding, I don’t have confidence that it is “safe” for children (not women) who are young teenagers. Condems don’t carry those kinds of risks. Most parents would want to know if their 11-15 year olds are sexually active. Of course, there are children who may be terrified of their parents or who come from extremely dysfunctional families who feel that they have few choices. But 11-15 year olds are not known for responsible decision making.

  • William Deutschlander

    Very interesting, the idiots want to ban abortion while refusing to make available a safe morning after contraceptive.
    Intercourse has been here forever and will continue to be in the heat of passion, lets get real, sex is prevalent among the young.

    • neeceoooo

      You’re right and they will not be telling their parents about it either.

    • We must keep sex in the gutter where it belongs!
      (Or in airport bathroom stalls if you’re a Republican).

  • charleo1

    I disagreed with this article, from the first line. For several reasons.
    For starters, The Obama Administration is not taking a step aganist
    women’s reproductive Rights. As a Father who has raised two
    daughters, believe me when I say, there is nothing womanly about a
    15 year old girl. Yes, I’m not so naive as to think 15, even 14 year olds,
    some of them, unfortunately are having sex. Hopefully, if they are, it is
    with their peers, and not an adult. Because, I assume a 43 year old
    man, could also purchase the pill, for his 15 year old victim. With
    parents, and the law, none the wiser. Forgive me, but that doesn’t
    sound like women’s reproductive Rights, being abridged to me. It
    sounds more like a get out of jail free card, for predators. And the
    parents? Raising children, if done only half way correctly, is a labor
    of love. And the hardest job, most of us will ever have. Boys aren’t
    easy. But girls are a different thing altogether. Does the Parents
    who have all of the responsibilities, have any Rights, or say in the matter?
    As Parents, who come to know their job, and to understand that job,
    and the many, obligations that come with it. Does this ruling respect
    those responsibilities, and obligations of the Parent to be there for their
    child? If so, I fail to see it.

    • sigrid28

      I will tell you a story. The names have been changed to protect the confidentiality of persons I hold dear. In the 1980s, as “house parent” at a college dormitory (and stepmother to a sixteen-year-old daughter at the time), I was called to the ER in the middle of the night when a seventeen-year-old coed who lived in our house (sixty freshmen and sophomores), said she had been raped. The Dean of Students (a lifelong administrator I still deeply admire) and I had a rip-roaring fight over whether this young woman should be coerced into taking the morning after pill available at the time, which the victim steadfastly refused to do. In the ER, medical doctors who had to respect the will of the patient (and I) prevailed. Weeks later, the student and her mother (a single head of household we would now call her, with two daughters) dropped off a basket of fruit at our apartment in the dormitory and thanked me in person for defending the daughter’s decision. This terrific mother had just seen her daughter safely through an elective abortion. In the strictest confidence, I was finally told that her daughter’s partner was also a seventeen-year-old living in our coed dormitory. At this reserve, I am sure that all of the residents in the house must have known about the pregnancy long before we did, and all were relieved at this positive outcome. Did the rape actually occur, or was reporting it a means of deceiving a beloved parent? I will never know.

      This I do know, however. A decade before this incident one of my neighbors was an activist providing safe abortions within the feminist underground. Otherwise, a flight to a safe clinic in New York and the procedure itself cost upwards of $700. An over-the-counter morning after pill at that time would have saved lives. Yet even in the eighties, when it was available, a wide range of medical approaches was needed to safeguard the health of pregnant women. Thirty years later, when legislatures in Red states are intent on limiting reproductive choices for women–and families, I might add–I can see how the availability of a safe, over-the-counter morning after pill would save lives. As a parent and former “house parent,” I know that moms and dads need all the help they can get.

  • WASHINGTON—A 150 percent increase in teen pregnancy rates over the past decade has led more high schools to eliminate “Fuck Your Brains Out,” a national sexual education program that encourages adolescents to have sex frequently and with as many partners as possible, sources confirmed Thursday.

    The federally funded program, whose mission is to “educate teens on the advantages of premarital sex and empower them to embrace a promiscuous lifestyle of banging the shit out of each other,” has reportedly contributed significantly to the spread of sexually transmitted infections and diseases among U.S. high school students.

    “We tried the ‘Fuck Your Brains Out’ initiative for five years, and unfortunately, we did not find the results we were looking for,” said Principal Lynn Mullen of Conestoga High School in Pennsylvania, one of 4,000 public secondary schools currently teaching the course. “Until now, our approach to sexual education has been to teach kids to go hard now before they’re old, out of shape, and tied down with marriage and kids.”

    “At this point, we need to reassess: Is this something that’s actually working?” Mullen continued. “Or are we ultimately doing more harm than good?”

  • I wouldn’t want to put my kid on the pill, and I sure as hell want any girl who gets coerced or outright raped to have access to the morning after pill, especially in this rapist-friendly victim-shaming culture… and parents SHOULD NOT have the right to force their daughters into pregnancy!