December 7, 2011
In a stunning betrayal of women, the Obama administration has sided with radical right politics in rejecting the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) decision to remove an age restriction on emergency contraception.
The experts on the FDA advisory committee resoundingly supported all available scientific and medical evidence, declaring Plan B One-Step to be safe and effective for all women over the counter, regardless of age.
Today, Plan B One-Step is available without prescription to women ages 17 and above. However, because of the age restriction, it is held behind the counter in pharmacies, and women are required to produce either proof of age or a doctor's prescription to access the drug.
Two years ago, a district court found that the FDA's earlier decision to limit access on the basis of age was motivated exclusively by politics. The court ordered the FDA to reconsider, and the FDA ultimately complied, recently deciding to make Plan B One-Step available over the counter to all women regardless of age.
It is an unusual and infuriating move for the Obama administration to overrule that decision, especially at a time when rumors are flying that the president is on the brink of caving in to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops by expanding religiously affiliated employers' ability to deny contraceptive coverage to women under the Affordable Care Act.
NOW calls on the president to stop playing politics with the lives of women and girls. During the Bush years, women's reproductive health was under constant attack. We don't need more of the same from the Obama administration.