President Barack Obama had pledged to run an administration that would keep politics out of decisions that should be decided on the basis of scientific judgment.

His health secretary’s decision to overrule a Food and Drug Administration recommendation and prevent the Plan B morning-after pill from being sold over the counter appeared to be an unsettling example of politics trumping science.

Major medical groups that supported making this contraceptive readily available included the American Academy of Pediatrics, which argued that the morning-after pill was safer than some existing over-the-counter medications. Pediatricians and women’s health advocates had pushed for expanding Plan B’s accessibility to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies.

But Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the president himself relied on more emotional arguments — namely, the prospect that girls as young as 11 would be buying the pill (which costs about $50 a dose) without parental consent.

The sad reality of this decision is that teens without access to emergency contraception are going to end up having abortions or having children they are not prepared to raise or support.

— San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 13

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.