The Politics Behind Blocking Morning-After Pill

It’s a decision that’s shocked many health experts: the Obama administration on Thursday rejected a bid to make the over-the-counter morning-after pill Plan B One-Step, available to girls below the age of 17. The FDA had already stated that the product was safe and effective. But Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the FDA in an unprecedented move, citing that it could be used by very young girls because “ten percent of girls are physically capable of bearing children by 11.1 years of age.” But experts dismiss this rationale, saying less than 1 percent of girls at that age are sexually active. The Daily Beast’s Michelle Goldberg believes Sebelius’s grounds are thin because it was a political decision aimed to appease conservatives, who are investigating Health and Human Services on whether it is biased against Catholics. (The church has been attacking the administration over the mandate that health care fully cover birth control.) “Feminists, a crucial constituency, feel betrayed and furious,” Goldberg writes.