Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
In spite of the fact that the drug has never been tested on young girls, the Obama administration decided yesterday to allow access to the morning-after-pill over-the-counter and with no age restrictions.
Fox News is reporting that the administration decided not to continue its appeal against a ruling by U.S. District Judge Edward Korman to allow unfettered access to the drug which goes by the name, plan b price. Instead, they have agreed to submit a plan for compliance with the ruling and will drop their appeal if it is approved.
This decision overturns a 2011 ruling by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Subelius who refused to allow the drug to be sold to all ages due to a lack of adequate testing to determine the health effects on young girls.
In spite of the fact that there is still no evidence that these drugs can be safely used by girls as young as 11, the Food and Drug Administration has instructed the manufacturer of the pills to submit a new drug application with proposed labeling that permits it to be sold “without a prescription and without age or point-of-sale prescriptions.” It intends to approve the application “promptly” when received.
Annie Tummino, lead plaintiff in a lawsuit over unrestricted access to the morning-after pill and coordinator of the National Women’s Liberation, said women and girls should have “the absolute right to control our bodies without having to ask a doctor or a pharmacist for permission.”
According to Ms. Tummino, women and girls should be able to take whatever drug or device is offered to them, under the guise of “safe and effective birth control” regardless of whether there has been any testing to substantiate that label. It’s not just the government who can’t tell them what to do with their bodies, now it’s doctors and the scientific community as well.
So much for “safe and effective” health care for women.
Anna Higgins, director of the Family Research Council’s Center for Human Dignity was disheartened by the news. “We’re very concerned and disappointed at the same time because what we see here is the government caving to political pressure instead of putting first the health and safety of girls (and) parental rights,” she told Fox.
Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America told LifeNews: “Though President Obama himself has said ‘as the father of two daughters, I think it is important for us to make sure that we apply some common sense to various rules when it comes to over-the-counter medicine,’ his administration has abandoned common sense and will allow our nation’s teens and young girls to have access to a highly powerful drug forty times stronger than birth control. I sincerely fear for the future health and wellness of women and children, as doctors, parents, and pharmacists are eliminated from this very serious conversation about sexual activity, pregnancy, fertility, and overall health.”
Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America accused the president of waging a “war on girls” by allowing young children access to this drug without a physician’s or parent’s care.
“The morning after pill is a megadose of the birth-control pill, which has been categorized by the World Health Organization as a Group I carcinogen. That’s the highest possible ranking – cigarettes are also in Group I. So why are drugstores required to put cigarettes behind the counter and ask for a photo id to stop minors from purchasing them, but President Obama is now ordering the morning after pill be sold over the counter, next to candy bars and packs of gum? This is not reproductive justice, this is child abuse.”
Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards got it right when she said this decision marks an “historic moment” for women’s reproductive health. But she’s wrong in thinking it’s a step forward. This is a monumental step backward in time when women are once again subjected to untested and unsafe devices in order to render them sterile and keep them subservient to those who regard them as mere objects of pleasure.
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