Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Obama's War On Reproductive Rights

President Barack Obama signed an executive order strengthening the federal restrictions on federal funding for abortions. The Hyde amendment already prohibited federal funds for abortions. The Obama administration went one step further in restricting reproductive rights. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the FDA on the morning after pill.

NARAL sent out a press release.

NEW YORK—Today the FDA announced the Secretary of Health and Human Services – for the first time ever – has invoked her authority to overrule the agency’s decision to approve the emergency contraceptive pill Plan B One-Step for full over-the-counter sale, which would have removed what was widely recognized to be a politically motivated age restriction on its access. This is the first time in history the Health Secretary has ever used this power to overrule an FDA decision. Had the FDA decision gone into effect, women of all ages would have been able to purchase this back-up birth control method without a prescription and without delays at the pharmacy counter.

“This is a deeply disappointing betrayal from an Administration that had pledged to promote the health and well-being of women and families and be guided by science and medicine,” said Andrea Miller, President of NARAL Pro-Choice New York. “The evidence is clear, the FDA has done more than its due diligence, and women across the nation deserve ready access to a safe, effective second chance to prevent an unintended pregnancy. The decision to overrule the FDA is reminiscent of a troubling era, when the Bush Administration routinely allowed politics to trump science, especially in its interference with the FDA’s deliberations over this product.”

The FDA first approved Plan B as a prescription product in 1999. Seven years later, in 2006, the FDA approved over-the-counter access to Plan B for those eighteen and older – an age restriction later deemed by the Government Accountability Office and federal courts to be politically, not scientifically, motivated. In response, the age restriction on the over-the-counter product was lowered to seventeen the following year.

Does the Obama political team think that the Tea Party and the Christian Right (which is one and the same) is suddenly going to vote for Democrats because of restrictions on Plan B? This is a political decision that does nothing to win the mythical middle.

Obama apologists will defend this as part of the President's 3D chess game with Republicans. The debt ceiling disaster proves that Obama isn't that politically astute. What we do know by Obama's actions is that he is not passionate about protecting the reproductive rights of women. People can write commentary about how Obama actually cares about women. These same people will ignore Obama's actions on reproductive rights. Tell a woman after she has been sexually violated that the reason she can't get the the Plan B pill is because Obama cares. I dare you to try it. I will be suprised if the woman doesn't slap you in the face.

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