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Obama supports new restrictions on morning-after pill availability

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Barack Obama

Obama has come out in support of controversial new measures limiting access to the morning-after pill. Health and Human Services Department secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently went over the heads of the Food and Drug Administration to protect a restriction requiring women under seventeen to get a prescription in order to obtain Plan B, marking the first time a health secretary has overruled the FDA.

This, in spite of the fact that the time it usually takes to get a prescription would likely render the recommended seventy-two hour window for Plan B completely moot. And in spite of the fact that the expense and effort involved in this process will almost certainly deter countless young women trying to make a safe decision for their health. And in spite of the fact that the FDA specifically recommended that Plan B be available over-the-counter to all women. 

Apparently not bothered by any of this, Obama said today, "As the father of two daughters, it makes sense to me to apply some common sense," adding that Sebelius "could not be confident a ten-year-old or an eleven-year-old going to a pharmacy would [not] be able to… buy a medication that would have an adverse effect." He did make sure to distance himself from the measure, though, saying, "I did not get involved in the process, this was a decision of Kathleen Sebelius." He continued:

"As I understand it, the reason Kathleen made this decision was she could not be confident that a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old, going to a drug store, should be able to, alongside bubble gum or batteries. I think most parents would probably feel the same way."

Meanwhile, FDA administrator Margaret A. Hamburg released a statement saying, "There is adequate and reasonable, well-supported, and science-based evidence that Plan B One-Step is safe and effective and should be approved for nonprescription use for all females of child-bearing potential."

So there you have it: a political decision that will severely alienate a huge portion of Obama's supporters, won't actually appease perennially un-appeasable social conservatives, and continues an oppressive and patronizing policy that prevents women taking charge of their own bodies. No one wins here.