The Corner

Obama Administration Appeals Judge’s Plan B Ruling

President Obama’s Justice Department is appealing the court order of a New York district judge mandating that the morning-after pill be made available over-the-counter to girls of all ages, and “women’s groups” are not happy with him:

“We are profoundly disappointed. This appeal takes away the promise of all women having timely access to emergency contraception,” Susannah Baruch, Interim President & CEO of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, said in a statement late Wednesday.

“It is especially troubling in light of the Food and Drug Administration’s move yesterday to continue age restrictions and ID requirements, despite a court order to make emergency contraception accessible for women of all ages. Both announcements, particularly in tandem, highlight the administration’s corner-cutting on women’s health,” Baruch said. “It’s a sad day for women’s health when politics prevails.”

The FDA on Tuesday had lowered the age at which people can buy the Plan B One-Step morning-after pill without a prescription to 15 – younger than the current limit of 17 – and decided that the pill could be sold on drugstore shelves near the condoms, instead of locked behind pharmacy counters. It appeared to be a stab at compromise that just made both sides angrier.

After the appeal was announced late Wednesday, Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, said, “The prevention of unwanted pregnancy, particularly in adolescents, should not be obstructed by politicians.” She called it a “step backwards for women’s health.”

Last week, O’Neill noted, President Barack Obama was applauded when he addressed members of Planned Parenthood and spoke of the organization’s “core principle” that women should be allowed to make their own decisions about their health.

“President Obama should practice what he preaches,” O’Neill said.

The appeal is in line with the position President Obama took during his reelection campaign, when he supported HHS secretary Kathleen Seblius’s decision to overrule an FDA recommendation to make Plan B available over the counter. 

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