Sebelius Overrules FDA: Plan B Won't Be Sold Over the Counter

By now you've probably heard the bad news:

In what can only be called an astounding move by an Administration that pledged on inauguration day that medical and health decisions would be based on fact not ideology and for which women are a major constituency, today Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) overruled a much-awaited decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make emergency contraception (EC) available over-the-counter (OTC) to women of all ages.

That's right; Sebelius (in an unprecedentedly shitty move—no other health secretary has overruled an FDA decision like this before) deemed Plan B too complicated for young women of child-bearing age to comprehend, saying: "It is common knowledge that there are significant cognitive and behavioral differences between older adolescent girls and the youngest girls of reproductive age. 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."

Twitter screen shot. Tweet reads, How can you be old enough to have a kid but not old enough to NOT have the kid?!?

This is a shocking and deeply disappointing setback for reproductive justice in the US. Had this decision been approved, Plan B would have been available on drugstore shelves (with the condoms, which no one seems to worry about young men having the "cognitive and behavioral" abilities to use), eliminating need for a prescription or proof that the user is older than 17. Now, though, not so much.

There will undoubtedly be more to come on this issue (hopefully better news, though I'm not holding my breath after today's decision). For now, here's some further reading that include suggestions on how to follow the story and let the HHS know your thoughts. Their number is 1-877-696-6775 if you'd like to let them know that their political beliefs should NOT affect our access to safe and legal medication.

Have you been reading about this issue? Please share in the comments.

by Kelsey Wallace
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6 Comments Have Been Posted

But wouldn't those

But wouldn't those "significant cognitive and behavioral differences" make it even more important for those youngest girls of reproductive age to have access to the morning after pill? Wouldn't want them to have ever chance possible at not being a mom so young?

Though it could lead to

Though it could lead to unnecessary confrontation, young girls can still ask older siblings, friends or their mother to go buy the pill for them without a prescription.


Theoretically, you're absolutely right. But if this theoretical young girl risks violence or estrangement by letting family members know that she had unprotected sex? That complicates things real quick.

If this is the way they want

If this is the way they want to play the game, I, for one, will buy Plan B for any girl who asks me.


I wish there was a better alternative to next year's elections (Anyone BUT Ralph Nader. There, I have said it), where I, as a pro-choice Progressive, will feel forced to vote to re-elect Obama because the Republican who will challenge him will be EVEN WORSE, cultivating an EVEN WORSE administration that will without any doubt strip away more rights of women and other "minorities" (for lack of a better word). Not to mention that Obama supporter <a href="">Melissa Harris-Perry</a> will be rallying her followers in supporting him no matter what. Again, here is another lesson on the equal importance of not ignoring consideration of the "alternative" candidates. What's even more distressing, is this <a href=" article</a> stating that the Tea Partiers (Many of whom are antiaboriton and anti-contraception in their so-called "get the Government off my back" views) are more likely to vote than OWS/Occupy supporters, that, I am assuming, are of primarily Progressive and/or pro-reproductive rights viewpoints. (I should note that the piece is subject for debate <a href=" this article will attest</a>) While we can do all we can to "protest" this outrageous and irresponsible decision, the loudest and clearest message in response to this, will indeed be sent via the ballot box.

That's why I'll be doing a

That's why I'll be doing a write in. I haven't decided who yet, but there is really nothing else I can do in good conscious (and my state will go to Obama no matter what).

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