Contraception

Emergency Contraception Fight With the Obama Administration Continues

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Plan B
Credit: Princeton

The president who was going to restore science to its rightful place, sure has a funny way of going about it. Way back in 2011, the Food and Drug Administration ruled that emergency contraceptive pills were safe enough for all females of childbearing age to take without a doctor's prescription. In the heat of the presidential campaign, Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Kathleen Sibeiius, overruled the agency to require that the drugs be made available only by prescription to those under age 17.

Since then a federal judge has ordered that HHS lift the requirement for prescriptions a couple of times and the Department has appealed those rulings. Meanwhile in a face-saving gesture, the FDA last month did permit girls and women over age 15 to get one version of emergency contraception without a prescription. Yesterday, a federal appeals court in New York ordered that a two-pill version of the emergency contraceptive be made immediately available over the counter to women of all ages without a prescription. As the New York Times reports:

The issue of emergency contraception is fraught with political sensitivities for the Obama administration. Conservative groups object to the drug itself, arguing that it may encourage young people to have unprotected sex. Some anti-abortion groups also contend that the drug is tantamount to an abortion pill, despite strong scientific evidence that the pill only prevents fertilization and does not act after an egg is fertilized.

Scientists have long argued against the need for any restrictions on the pill's sale, saying that studies show it is safer than many common over-the-counter drugs, including acetaminophen. And women's rights groups have advocated for the drug as a safe option for women in an emergency.

In response to the new ruling, American Council on Science and Health senior fellow Ruth Kava noted:

The 'anti' forces say, 'This is going to encourage sexual activity,' but as a matter of fact, teenage pregnancies have been dropping over the last few years which suggests that some of these messages are getting out there and that teens are using contraception. This is a very strongly felt and very widely fought over issue. The pills are safe, they're effective, and I think it's important for everyone to have free access to them. While some may argue about the safety of this form of contraception, they ignore the fact that pregnancy itself, especially in young teens, may have negative effects on health.

The Health and Human Services and Justice Departments are reviewing the new court ruling. Why? Why? These pills are safer than Tylenol!

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  1. I thought that read “Emergency Contraption” at first. I was envisioning some sort of Wallace & Gromit construction.

    1. “Grommit! I got in the wrong trousers and now they’re knocked up!”

      1. I love those programs. I mean, programmes. My youngest daughter was a big fan for a while–we even had a cat named Wallace.

  2. The Health and Human Services and Justice Departments are reviewing the new court ruling. Why? Why? These pills are safer than Tylenol!

    Its not about safety, its about asserting their authority, which they believe should be unlimited.

    1. I love this fight. On the one hand there is their desire to stick it to the evil fundies. On the other hand there is the prime directive that the government must control access to everything at all times.

      1. I’m fairly certain the HHS and DOJ don’t care who they’re sticking it to as long as everyone is properly acknowledging their authority.

    2. It’s like with the pocket knives and miniature bat replicas on airliners: Once an issue is raised, people will give it consider’n they never would’ve on their own. This is now a matter of controversy, and nobody wants to make it seem they’re not fighting for…something.

  3. “Yesterday, a federal appeals court in New York ordered that a two-pill version of the emergency contraceptive be made immediately available over the counter to women of all ages without a prescription.”

    We can ignore the 1st Amendment, the 4th, court orders about appointments, and ‘way more than that. WIH do you think we care about your silly piece of paper?

  4. So Obama is continuing the Boooshhh/Republican war on women?

    1. Yeah, Bush! Universal solvent.

    2. It is really funny isn’t it. Like they give a fuck about what anti-abortion groups think in any other context. If there ever was one issue you would think you could predict what they would do, it should be this. But they are so in love with control and power, they can’t give it up even if it means hurting their adversaries.

      1. Yep. It’s almost amazing. Almost.

  5. Sounds like a solid plan to me dude.

    http://www.AnonStuff.tk

  6. “girls and women over age 15”

    So you’re not talking about 15 year old “women” any more?

    This should be a state issue because of federalism, but the government has a legitimate interest in protecting parental prerogatives, including letting parents, not their immature horny kids, make decisions about those kids’ sex lives.

  7. The ‘anti’ forces say, ‘This is going to encourage sexual activity,’ but as a matter of fact, teenage pregnancies have been dropping over the last few years which suggests that some of these messages are getting out there and that teens are using contraception.

    But for the “antis” preventing teen pregnancy with contraception is a bug, not a feature. They would much rather use fear of pregnancy to prevent sex. The fact it doesn’t work is irrelevant to their philosophy.

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