The morning-after pill

In a remarkable move for a left-wing administration, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the FDA on Wednesday and did not permit the Plan B contraceptive, often called the "morning after pill," to be available to girls under the age of 17 without a prescription.

I am pro-choice and my gut reaction to the ruling was an angry one, thinking initially that it was just another example of political fear of social issues conservatives.

But after thinking about it for a bit, I've changed my mind.

First of all, this administration is most certainly not afraid of angering or alienating socially conservative voters -- because they probably could not be more angry with or alienated from this government than they already are. That said, The Hill reported that "Some Republicans had threatened to cut the FDA’s budget if it allowed women younger than 17 to get Plan B without a prescription," a risk that Sebelius might not have been interested in taking.

Second, and more importantly, government has a different level of responsibility when it comes to protecting children than to protecting adults. To be clear, I do not believe "it takes a village" or that government should in any way try to be a substitute parent.

But not allowing that pill for young women who have not reached adulthood is not making the government act like a parent. Instead, it appropriately guides the young would-be takers of the drug to consult with her parents about what is not only an important decision but one which implies that the child has already made a different important decision, and one which is, even if uncomfortably, within the parents' realm of legitimate interest.

Therefore, as much as I am pro-choice and as much as I think Kathleen Sebelius is a creature straight out of Orwell's 1984, I think she made the right decision in this case -- even if she did so by accident.

  • Fran Miller
    Comment from: Fran Miller
    12/08/11 @ 08:07:56 am

    To force a sexually actice person to kneel at the feet of their parents or family doctor shames that individual. I say respect the sovereignty of the human soul.

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