Obama, Sibelius and Plan B: Bad Science, Bad Ethics, Bad Policy

After FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg advocated that all women of child-bearing age be allowed to buy Plan B, the so-called “morning after pill,” without a prescription, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sibelius overruled the FDA with President Obama’s imprimatur. Sibelius said..

“After careful consideration of the FDA Summary Review, I have concluded that the data, submitted by Teva [the Plan B manufacturer], do not conclusively establish that Plan B One-Step should be made available over the counter for all girls of reproductive age. 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.”

What’s going on here? What’s going on here is that the Administration wants to avoid a direct clash with those who regard human life as being created from the moment of conception. Sibelius’s implies without saying that a pill that ends an unwarranted pregnancy within 72 hours is an abortion pill, or at least she is crafting HHS policy for the pleasure of those who believe this. No science supports the contention that a fertilized egg that has yet to travel to the uterus—what Plan B prevents— is a human being; the position is a moral/religious one that exists independently of science. Continue reading