‘Plan B’ pill: Obama plays it safe

The Obama administration canceled plans to make the “morning after” pill freely available to teens.

President Obama is playing politics with women’s health, said the Philadelphia Daily News in an editorial. The Obama administration tried to head off a bruising fight with social conservatives last week by canceling plans to make the emergency contraceptive Plan B freely available to teens. The Food and Drug Administration had ruled that the “morning after” pill was safe to be sold over the counter to all females of reproductive age. But, to the dismay of women’s groups, Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled their scientific advisers, on the grounds that it’s unsafe to let younger girls have access to the hormonal drug. So let’s get this straight: Teenage girls aren’t mature enough to take an emergency contraceptive—but they are mature enough to have an abortion or a baby instead? Everyone knows the reason behind this betrayal, said Irin Carmon in Salon.com. The White House feared a 2012 attack ad aimed at parents that would say: “Why does Obama want your innocent little girl to have sex without you knowing?”

It would have been a legitimate question, said Jeneba Ghatt in WashingtonTimes.com. If young teens knew that “there is always Plan B” to erase their sexual mistakes, it would have only encouraged unsafe, promiscuous behavior. The administration’s decision means that parents must consent to any use of Plan B. Making the pill available over the counter would also encourage young girls to “skip regular visits to a physician,” said obstetrician Donna Harrison in NPR​.org. That’s especially dangerous, since sexually active teens are at high risk of contracting STDs. Obama deserves praise, not criticism, for looking out for “the health of our teen daughters.”

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us