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Archive for Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sebelius stops Plan B from being sold over the counter

December 8, 2011

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— In a surprise move with election-year implications, the Obama administration’s top health official overruled her own drug regulators and stopped the Plan B morning-after pill from moving onto drugstore shelves next to the condoms.

The decision by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius means the Plan B One-Step emergency contraceptive will remain behind pharmacy counters, as it is sold today — available without a prescription only to those 17 and older who can prove their age.

The Food and Drug Administration was preparing to lift the age limit on Wednesday and allow younger teens, who today must get a prescription, to buy it without restriction. That would have made Plan B the nation’s first over-the-counter emergency contraceptive, a pill that can prevent pregnancy if taken soon enough after unprotected sex.

But Sebelius intervened at the eleventh hour and overruled FDA, deciding that young girls shouldn’t be able to buy the pill on their own — especially since some girls as young as 11 are physically capable of bearing children.

“It is common knowledge that there are significant cognitive and behavioral differences between older adolescent girls and the youngest girls of reproductive age,” Sebelius said. “I do not believe enough data were presented to support the application to make Plan B One-Step available over the counter for all girls of reproductive age.”

The move will anger a pivotal part of Obama’s Democratic base, and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, a member of the Senate leadership, quickly asked for Sebelius to explain her decision. The White House said Sebelius decided on her own.

But the move also could help Democrats make their case to independents, whose support will be critical in next fall’s presidential election, that Obama is not the liberal ideologue Republicans claim. It followed Obama administration reversals this year on some environmental and other issues that irked Democrats.

It was the latest twist in a nearly decade-long push for easier access to emergency contraception, and the development shocked women’s groups and maker Teva Pharmaceuticals, which had been gearing up for over-the-counter sales to begin by month’s end.

“We are outraged that this administration has let politics trump science,” said Kirsten Moore of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, an advocacy group. “There is no rationale for this move.”

“This decision is stunning. I had come to believe that the FDA would be allowed to make decisions based on science and the public’s health,” said Susan Wood of George Washington University, who served as the FDA’s top women’s health official until resigning in 2005 to protest delays in deciding Plan B’s fate. She said, “Sadly, once again, FDA has been over-ruled and not allowed to do its job.”

But the decision pleased conservative critics of the proposal.

“Take the politics out of it and it’s a decision that reflects the concerns that many parents in America have,” said Wendy Wright, an evangelical Christian activist who has helped lead the opposition to Plan B.

“This is the right decision based on a lack of scientific evidence that it’s safe to allow minors access to this drug, much less over the counter,” said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

Comments

thirdplanet 2 years, 9 months ago

Surprising that a democrat still fights for out of date and backward positions of birth-control, but I she is from Kansas.

Shows how terrible Obama's judgment of character is putting this old hag in a position of serious power. This is probably the highlight of her political career, heading agency that should have been scrapped and dismantled years ago. I wouldn't be surprised to see Health and Human services being put on the chopping block next time congress thinks about taking care of its debt problems.

Remember when there were rumors she'd be the vice presidential candidate, what an absolute joke that would be.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 9 months ago

So, if she had ruled the opposite way, would your post have been substantially different? Or are you conditioned to froth all over yourself any time you see Sebelius's name mentioned?

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xession 2 years, 9 months ago

Do you intend to actually discuss the content in this story or are you planning to only attempt ad hominem attacks towards everyone who posts a response?

As for intervention, I think it is ridiculous. The Plan B pill is more or less, a birth control pill with a certain mixture of hormones found in other birth control pills. While it would be rather expensive, the risks associated with taking it every day as a birth control pill, are no greater than any other chemical method.

And before you even attempt to argue that I'm just against Sebelius, I would feel that this intervention was entirely misguided, no matter who it was making the ruling. The people in powerful positions in politics, unfortunately just have there heads up their asses and choose to ignore scientific studies and instead rely on irrational belief and emotion for their ruling power.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 9 months ago

And here comes the king of posters who are slaves to their pavlovian conditioning.

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 9 months ago

Look in the mirror to see another, bozo.

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Betty Bartholomew 2 years, 9 months ago

"But Sebelius intervened at the eleventh hour and overruled FDA, deciding that young girls shouldn’t be able to buy the pill on their own — especially since some girls as young as 11 are physically capable of bearing children."

So they should have to do so? Odd reasoning.

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acg 2 years, 9 months ago

I thoroughly support her position. I wouldn't want my daughter buying it without my knowledge.

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thebigspoon 2 years, 9 months ago

Please believe me, I'm not criticising ANY position, but the question occurs to me, "Would you want your 11 to 17 year old daughter to bear a child?" Seems to me to be a pertinent question here.

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gccs14r 2 years, 9 months ago

The problem is that the girls who are too young to buy the pill probably don't have a good enough home environment to receive either counseling or medical care. What's more dangerous for an 11 year old: taking Plan B, or carrying a fetus to term? All this will do is push Plan B onto the black market for younger girls.

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