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Democratic senators want to know the "science"
that says this is way too hard to understand
Last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the unprecedented and unexpected decision to overrule the Food and Drug Administration's recommendation to make Plan B, the morning after pill, available over the counter to girls and women of all ages because teens are too dumb and immature to understand how to take a pill.
The following day, President Obama claimed he had nothing to do with the decision, but supported it anyway because "as the father of two daughters," he thinks sexual puritanism and paternalism should trump science. (Yes, that's a paraphrase.)
Now, 14 Democratic senators have sent a Sternly Worded LetterTM to Sebelius, asking her to explain exactly how she decided that her science trumps the FDA's science (and, oh yeah, all the other extensive science on the subject):
Dear Secretary Sebelius,
We are writing to express our disappointment with your December 7, 2011 decision to block the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recommendation to make Plan B One-Step available over-the-counter. We feel strongly that FDA regulations should be based on science. We write to you today to ask that you provide us with the rationale for this decision.
As numerous medical societies and patient advocates have argued, improved access to birth control, including emergency contraception, has been proven to reduce unintended pregnancies. Nearly half of all pregnancies that occur in the United States each year are unintended. Keeping Plan B behind the counter makes it harder for all women to obtain a safe and effective product they may need to prevent an unintended pregnancy.
We ask that you share with us your specific rationale and the scientific data you relied on for the decision to overrule the FDA recommendation. On behalf of the millions of women we represent, we want to be assured that this and future decisions affecting women’s health will be based on medical and scientific evidence.
Given the abundance of science that says teens actually are capable of understanding how to open a box and take a single pill, Sebelius' response should be very interesting.
Originally posted to Kaili Joy Gray on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 10:30 AM PST.