Obama Defends Decision Denying Morning After Pill to Teens

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 8, 2011   |   1:21PM   |   Washington, DC

President Barack Obama is defending his administration’s decision yesterday to deny over the counter access to the morning after pill to teenage girls — a surprise decision that cause some pro-life and pro-abortion groups off guard.

In a rare move, the Health and Human Services Department overruled a decision by the Food and Drug Administration to make the morning after pill available to teenagers without a prescription. The Obama administration was examining the possibility of selling the morning after pill to teenagers and the FDA had until Wednesday to respond to a request from the maker of the generic version of the Plan B drug to sell it on the shelves and not behind the pharmacist’s counter. However, although the FDA initially approved the decision, the HHS department overruled it.

The FDA has already taken the health and safety of women out of the hands of doctors. The FDA originally approved the morning after pill at the end of the Clinton administration in 1999 and, in 2006, it was approved for nonprescription use for women 18 and older. Previously, a federal court ordered the Food and Drug Administration to reconsider its decision preventing minors from purchasing the morning after pill without a prescription.

Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who strongly supports abortion, rejected the decision by the FDA saying that she didn’t believe enough studies had been presented concerning how the drug affects the bodies of teenage girls who may take it.

Today, the Associated Press indicates Obama defended the decision on the same grounds, saying that, as a father of two daughters, government should “apply some common sense” to the rules that guide over the counter usage of the morning after pill.

AP reported: “Obama says Sebelius was concerned a 10- or 11-year-old could get the medication, which could have an adverse effect. Obama says “most parents would probably feel the same way.”

“I will say this. As the father of two daughter, it makes sense to apply some common sense,” Obama said.

Although he supported Sebelius’ decision, he told reporters today he had no involvement in making it.

“I did not get involved in the process, this was a decision of Kathleen Sebelius,” Obama said during a White House news conference. He said Sebelius “could not be confident a 10 year old or a 11 year old going to a pharmacy would [not] be able to… buy a medication that could have an adverse effect.”

“And her judgment was there was not enough evidence” to ensure that the pill would be used properly by girls and not have “adverse effects” on their health,” he said.

Meanwhile, pro-abortion House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi would not criticize Sebelius when asked about the decision during he press conference today.

“I have the highest respect for Dr. Peggy Hamburg, the head of the FDA, and the recommendation that she made based on science,” Pelosi said, according to The Hill. “But it wasn’t satisfactory to the secretary for younger girls, and so perhaps more science is necessary.”

Sebelius said there was not enough information on who the drug affects teens to make the decision.

She said in a statement:  “The average age of the onset of menstruation for girls in the United States is 12.4 years. However, about ten percent of girls are physically capable of bearing children by 11.1 years of age. It is common knowledge that there are significant cognitive and behavioral differences between older adolescent girls and the youngest girls of reproductive age. If the application were approved, the product would be available, without prescription, for all girls of reproductive age.”

“Because 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, I have directed FDA to issue a complete response letter denying the supplemental new drug application (SNDA) by Teva Women’s Health, Inc,” Sebelius continued.

The decision is shocking given that the Obama administration how kowtowed to the abortion industry in every other area since Obama was elected in 2008 and this marks the first time Obama has crossed pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL that lobbied for approval of selling the rug to minors without a doctor’s prescription.

Tony Perkins, the head of the Family research Council, was one of many pro-life advocates who opposed the move — in part because they worry underage girls who become victims of sexual abuse would have their abusers use the drug to cover up their crimes.

The decision received praise from pro-life groups like the Family Research Council.

Jeanne Monahan, Director of Family Research Council’s Center for Human Dignity, told LifeNews, “A decision to make Plan B available for girls under the age of 17 without a prescription would not have been in the interest of young women’s health. Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was right to reject the FDA recommendation to make this potent drug available over the counter to young girls. In her own words, the research submitted to the FDA did not include data for all ages for which the drug would be used.”

“Additionally, young people have approximately half of the sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) nationwide, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The availability of Plan B over-the-counter for all ages would have bypassed necessary routine medical care for sexually active girls. And a study released in 2010 revealed that adolescent use of Plan B was correlated with an increase in unplanned pregnancies and a high STD rate,” she said.

“There is also the issue of sexual abuse and exploitation. The average age of a girl who is sexually trafficked in the U.S. is 13 to 14. There is a real danger that Plan B could be given to young women, especially sexually abused minors, under coercion or without their consent. Interaction with medical professionals is a major screening and defense mechanism for victims of sexual abuse,” she continued. “Finally, Plan B can act in a way that can destroy life by preventing implantation. Women of all ages have the right to know how this drug may act in their bodies and on their newly developing babies.”

But Nancy Keenan of NARAL, who has worked closely with pro-abortion President Barack Obama to advance abortion, panned the decision. Keenan blasted the Obama administration in comments after the decision saying she disagreed with the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ decision to overrule a recommendation from the Food and Drug Administration.

“Experts like the American Academy of Pediatrics long ago recommended that this emergency contraceptive medication be available for women of all ages,” Keenan said.  “We had every confidence that this Bush-era policy would come to an end. The Obama administration has broken a key promise to the American people that it would base its decisions on sound science and what’s in the best interest of women’s health. In short, this is a failure to deliver change.”

The morning after pill has done nothing to significantly curb the number of abortions.

Research from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, a former Planned Parenthood research arm, shows “54 percent of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method *usually condom or the pill) during the month they became pregnant.” These figures are similar to those of a report in Spain showing abortions doubling despite increased family planning promotion.

And, of the women who say they did not intend to become pregnant, the report said “most of these women have practiced contraception in the past.”

Meanwhile, a report from Planned Parenthood of Western Washington shows abortions are on the rise in Washington state even though it participated in Washington state’s Take Charge pilot program.

Take Charge is a Medicaid section 1115 Waiver program initiated in 2001 to provide free contraceptives to low-income women not already covered under Medicaid. It was originally funded for five years in 2001, then extended for three more years, and comes up for renewal in 2009. Yet the PPWW annual report indicates abortions rose 16 percent from 7,790 in 2006 to 9,059 in 2007.

The failure of birth control, the morning after pill, and contraception to lower the number of abortions is no surprise to Dr. Joseph Stanford, associate professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

He says studies he and fellow researchers have done show a lower effectiveness rate than the 89 percent that Plan B maker Barr Laboratories claims.

“We did more a precise meta-analysis that shows it’s effective only 72 percent of the time, and even that number is optimistic,” he indicated.

He said studies from Europe, China and the United States show that the morning after pill does not reduce abortions.