Updated 12/07/2011 09:07 PM
Dueling Sides In Abortion Debate Criticize Political Nature Of Plan B Ruling
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the Food and Drug Administration Wednesday and said young teenage girls will not be able to buy the morning after pill without a prescription, and opposing sides in the abortion debate are now accusing the Obama administration of political posturing. NY1’s Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
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It's called the Plan B morning after pill, and taking it within three days of unprotected sex reduces the chance of becoming pregnant.
A decision by the Obama administration Wednesday will not reduce the hurdles girls 16 and under have to go through to get their hands on the pill, however.
"Is it a small bone thrown to our side? Sure. But it's political posturing in an election year," said Jeff Field, the Catholic League’s director of communications.
The Catholic League, a lay organization that's opposed to abortion, actually agrees with a leading pro-choice group that the decision is politically motivated.
"It really harkens back to the days I thought we were done with when politics trumps science," said Andrea Miller, president of NARAL Pro-Choice New York.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius ruled girls 16 and under will still have to get a prescription for the pill.
That's contrary to the experts from the Food and Drug Administration. Margaret Hamburg, M.D., the FDA commissioner, wrote: "Plan B One-Step is safe and effective and should be approved for nonprescription use for all females of child-bearing potential."
Sebelius said in a statement, “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.''
"Shocked and outraged, frankly," said Miller.
NARAL calls the decision a deeply disappointing betrayal by the Obama administration.
Meanwhile, the Catholic League remains unmoved by Sebelius' decision.
"There’s no indication that she's changing her stripes at all," said Field.
NARAL wants a reversal. The Catholic League wants the pill banned completely.
A federal judge ruled in 2009 that age limits were based on politics, not science, and ordered the government to reconsider. The maker of the drug said it would review the new decision before determining its next steps.