The Food and Drug Administration was on the verge of approving the emergency contraceptive known as "Plan B One Step." Access to emergency contraceptives is important to the reproductive freedom of women, and having to obtain a prescription or get past a pharmacist with reactionary moral beliefs can be a substantial burden on women.
As the FDA's decision reflected, denying over-the-counter access to emergency contraception increased unwanted pregnancies without any good medical reason. The two-tiered system that required young women under the age of 17 to obtain a prescription was also determined to increase unwanted pregnancies in the for whom they are most burdensome.
But in a decision that RH Reality Check's Jodi Jacobson calls "astounding," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has overruled her own medical experts and denied American women over-the-counter access to Plan B. This action is, quite simply, a disgrace. It's awful on the merits, and politically involves attacking a core constituency of the Democratic Party for no obvious benefit. Overriding professional FDA scientists in order to advance an agenda hostile to reproductive freedom and the equality of women is not what most Democrats believed they were voting for. And let's not forget that the cossacks work for the czar; the responsibility for this decision rests with President Obama. This isn't an issue where compromise was compelled by the need to appease conservatives in Congress; Obama and Sebelius could have done the right thing and didn't.