Citing his status as the "father of two daughters" President Obama last week endorsed the decision by Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to stop making the "Plan B" contraceptive available for girls under 16 without a prescription. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell now ask WTF?
The two Washington Senators and a dozen of their Democratic colleagues blasted Obama and Sebelius on Tuesday, demanding in a letter that they provide the "specific rationale" for why HHS would disregard the FDA's recommendation and limit contraception choices for young girls.
We are writing to express our disappointment with your December 7, 2011 decision to block the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) recommendation to make Plan B One-Step available over-the-counter. We feel strongly that FDA regulations should be based on science. We write to you today to ask that you provide us with the rationale for this decision.
As numerous medical societies and patient advocates have argued, improved access to birth control, including emergency contraception, has been proven to reduce unintended pregnancies. Nearly half of all pregnancies that occur in the United States each year are unintended. Keeping Plan B behind the counter makes it harder for all women to obtain a safe and effective product they may need to prevent an unintended pregnancy.
We ask that you share with us your specific rationale and the scientific data you relied on for the decision to overrule the FDA recommendation. On behalf of the millions of women we represent, we want to be assured that this and future decisions affecting women's health will be based on medical and scientific evidence.
Obama and Sebelius say that their decision was based on "common sense." Obama himself said that selling over-the-counter contraceptives to teen would lead to 10-year-old girls buying the drugs, alongside "bubble gum and batteries."
Of course, the ability to buy or not buy bubble gum and batteries has little chance of affecting a pregnant 14-year-old's entire life, like the ability to buy emergency contraception can.