The Food and Drug Administration was on the verge of approving the emergency contraceptive known as "Plan B One Step." Access to emergency contraceptives is important to the reproductive freedom of women, and having to obtain a prescription or get past a pharmacist with reactionary moral beliefs can be a substantial burden on women.
As the FDA's decision reflected, denying over-the-counter access to emergency contraception increased unwanted pregnancies without any good medical reason. The two-tiered system that required young women under the age of 17 to obtain a prescription was also determined to increase unwanted pregnancies in the for whom they are most burdensome.
But in a decision that RH Reality Check's Jodi Jacobson calls "astounding," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has overruled her own medical experts and denied American women over-the-counter access to Plan B. This action is, quite simply, a disgrace. It's awful on the merits, and politically involves attacking a core constituency of the Democratic Party for no obvious benefit. Overriding professional FDA scientists in order to advance an agenda hostile to reproductive freedom and the equality of women is not what most Democrats believed they were voting for. And let's not forget that the cossacks work for the czar; the responsibility for this decision rests with President Obama. This isn't an issue where compromise was compelled by the need to appease conservatives in Congress; Obama and Sebelius could have done the right thing and didn't.
I don't have much to add to that. I agree that there doesn't seem to be any benefit to doing this. Not that an electoral gain would make it better, but do you really think a significant number of voters would have not voted for Obama if he would have allowed this? Do you really think any right leaning person is going to see this and change their opinion about Obama and democrats on the subject of abortion/contraception/women's rights? I don't think so. Plus we are about 11 months from the next election. The type of people on the fence about who to vote for won't remember this.
The people who might remember this are liberals like me who will add this to a long list of things that Obama and democrats have done that goes against our policy preferences. And in this case they can't use republicans in congress as an excuse. There is no excuse. And while my vote won't matter in a red state like TN I am increasingly likely to vote independent based on principle because I just don't understand why they would do something like this. Let's urge our representatives to encourage the Obama administration to change their mind.