In an unprecedented move, the federal Health & Human Services director, Kathleen Sebelius, overruled a decision by the Food and Drug Administration to make Plan B (also called morning-after pills or emergency contraception) available without a prescription.
Since 2009, women younger than age 17 have needed a doctor’s prescription for Plan B, and Sebelius said it should stay that way.
Sebelius said the pharmacy industry had NOT provided evidence that girls as young as 11 “can understand the label and use the product appropriately”.
Pro-lifers– thankful for any small victory in the culture war– nonetheless scratched their collective heads trying to discern Sebelius’ motives. Some opined she was throwing a bone to religious conservatives riled up at the continuing onslaught of hostile actions by the Obama administration. To name just two of these actions:
- awarding preferential grants to unqualified, but abortion-supportive, groups to rescue & assist sex abuse victims;
- issuing contraceptive mandates for insurance plans without meaningful conscience exemptions.
As one well-known pro-abortion blogger noted, “ this victory for women’s health [was] snatched away at the last minute by Sebelius, sending shocks of confusion and betrayal through the pro-choice community, who always thought of Sebelius as a member in good standing.” (That’s an understatement.)
Planned Parenthood was curiously late (Thursday evening) in issuing a complaining letter to Sebelius, perhaps indicating they were also surprised at this turn of events, or perhaps even feigning concern– because they are the most likely beneficiary for keeping the status quo!
Since a girl under 17 can’t buy Plan B over-the-counter (the current situation) she might ask a friend, relative or boyfriend, age 18 and older, to purchase it. (Yes, men can buy these— in fact, in Thailand, men are the most frequent purchasers; see this report.)
Otherwise, how likely is a girl to tell her mom she is having sex, thinks she is pregnant and needs help ASAP in getting these pills and/or arranging an appointment with a gynecologist? Especially when her sex ed class told her Planned Parenthood is the ‘nation’s trusted –and confidential– provider’.
In fact, when using an online locator for emergency contraception in Kansas, searchers are only sent to various locations for Planned Parenthood of Kansas Mid-Missouri-- even when plugging in the exact zip codes for the Aid for Women and Center for Women’s Health abortion clinics.
Planned Parenthood does not want to lose control of its dominance in distributing Plan B, which helps bring them enhanced access to teens for long-term, federally-compensated business.
Perhaps in the face of upcoming Congressional hearings investigating how Planned Parenthood appears to facilitate the sex-trafficking of minors, President Obama’s re-election strategy is to portray himself as being more responsible. “As the father of two daughters, it makes sense to apply some common sense,” Obama said during a White House news conference Thursday. Although he supported Sebelius’ decision, he told reporters he had no involvement in making it.
Well, that’s quite a straddle as Obama proclaims fatherly concern that does not extend to retracting his support for very young girls getting abortions, which are undeniably more life-changing and about which teens cannot possibly make informed decisions.
The abortion lobby may huff and puff, but will likely resign themselves to this delay to help get their champion re-elected. Obama is counting on their campaign help and they know he will eventually put them back on the federally-funded gravy train. In the meantime, Planned Parenthood is the financial beneficiary behind the elaborate political games.
We’ll see what develops.