Obama himself supports limiting access to “Plan B” pill

December 8, 2011 • 2:26 pm

Yesterday I reported (or rather, the New York Times reported) that Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, had overruled the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to allow all women of reproductive age access to the “Plan B” contraceptive pill without a doctor’s prescription.  This overruling was unprecedented, and went against the advice of America’s major medical associations as well.

Today, in a statement at the White House, President Obama himself came out in support of Sebelius’s decision. According to the NYT, here’s what our Dear Leader said:

“The reason Kathleen made this decision is that she could not be confident that a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old going to a drug store should be able — alongside bubble gum or batteries — be able to buy a medication that potentially, if not used properly, could have an adverse effect,” Mr. Obama said to reporters at the White House.

“And I think most parents would probably feel the same way,” the president added.

As far as I know, the pill has not been shown to have “adverse effects,” and if Obama really is worried about the 10- and 11-year old girls, he could at least favor lowering the age at which women can buy the pills over the counter from 17 to 12.

We all know why Obama made that decision: he’s up for re-election next year and can’t be seen among moderates or conservatives as favoring sex for young girls.  (Most of those people wouldn’t vote for him anyway.)

In an unusual bit of editorializing in a news article, the Times mentions that possibility:

The bluntly personal nature of the president’s response suggested that the White House is well aware of the political sensitivities, going into an election year, of allowing broader distribution of the contraceptive, whatever the Food and Drug Administration’s scientific arguments in favor of it.

Yes, by all means let young girls have unwanted children; Obama needs himself re-elected.

Obama has caved in too much to conservatives in a misguided attempt to be conciliatory, but this ticks me off more than almost anything he’s done.  It’s just too damn obvious what he’s up to, and his reasons are completely incredible.

145 thoughts on “Obama himself supports limiting access to “Plan B” pill

  1. Wait a minute…does Obama know that USA has the highest teen pregnancy of all industrialized nations?

    Does he know that experts have predicted decades ago that abstinence only programs(which cost billions of dollars) would cause that statistic?

    For fuck sake, what is wrong with that guy, he is just so despicably spineless and clueless.

    I remember someone once said that Obama is a pandering automaton.
    What an apt description.

    1. >Obama has caved in too much to conservatives in a misguided attempt to be conciliatory, but this ticks me off more than almost anything he’s done. It’s just too damn obvious what he’s up to, and his reasons are completely incredible.

      [Bangs head on desk.]

      Obama “caves” in constantly to the Right BECAUSE HE AGREES WITH THEM! Sheesh-darker skin color and a D next to your name on the ballot doesn’t make one a liberal.

  2. I actually agree that a medical prescription should be needed for the pill – not that it should be hard to get one, but just because then girls would be properly informed before taking it about potential adverse effects (and I can safely say that there can indeed be adverse effects). Also, different brands of the pill can be better or worse suited to individuals, so medical advise is a good thing I think.

    That said, I grew up in a country with free health care, so I don’t know what you have to pay for in the States… Whether such a consultation and prescription would cost anything or not. So if it does cost anything just for a consultation, then Hell, let them have the bloody pill if they’re of age!

    1. A medical prescription is already necessary to get the pill. This, however, is emergency medicine after unprotected sex; it is not appropriately used as birth control. It has been widely used, safely, for decades around the world.

    2. I can see *maybe* requiring youngsters to have a pharmacist consult before receiving Plan B. But requiring a prescription is definitely going too far — the sooner Plan B is taken after unprotected sex the better, and requiring a prescription puts unnecessary delays in the way of people who need the damn thing *now*, not after having waited days to get in touch with their doctor. This is especially true for a kid who may not be able to get a medical appointment on their own and would probably need to go through an adult to get one, causing further delays.

      Kids can legally buy without adult supervision such potentially dangerous things as aspirin, tylenol, no-doz, codeine-based cough syrups, first aid ethanol, lighter fluid, markers, spray paint, ephedrine inhalers, batteries, and pocket knives, and no kid needs those things with anything like the urgency with which a ten year old who’s just been molested needs Plan B. There is *no* excuse whatsoever for denying access to this proven safe and effective medication to exactly those people who need it most. If we really care about protecting kids, we should care first and foremost about making sure that no ten year old ever has to deal with pregnancy, and this ruling flies in the face of that.

      I understand the squeamishness about the idea of kids taking drugs without adult supervision, or kids making sexual reproductive decisions of this magnitude on their own, but any pre-teen or teen who is desperate enough to seek out Plan B on her own is in a bad enough situation that it’s monstrous to put obstacles in her way. Even the pharmacist consult I suggested above seems to me like a lot to ask. It’s gotta take a lot of guts for a kid to even bring Plan B to the register, and requiring her to talk to a pharmacist about it might well deter some kids entirely, when we *really* don’t want those kids to be deterred.

      Even if it was my own underage daughter and she was for some reason motivated to conceal voluntary sexual activity or molestation from me, I’d sure as hell rather that she take the Plan B now and talk to me later, because having her get pregnant would be a hell of a lot worse.

      1. In fact… I’d almost say that this shit should be in middle school and high school restrooms, maybe in a dispenser with a token fee of $0.25 or something, the same as tampons and sanitary napkins. I’d hella rather have that than see ten year olds getting pregnant.

      2. Your list is inaccurate.

        Spray paint in many locations requires over 18 and a drivers license

        Codeine requires a prescription.

        Ephedrine inhalers may require a license as well (can it be used in meth like pseudoephedrine?)

        1. I meant to say epinephrine inhalers, not ephedrine (do they even make inhalers of that?), my bad. And all that’s required to get an epinephrine inhaler is money.

          Spray paint has issues in some jurisdictions, but not in all, and it’s definitely not federally regulated.

          You appear to be right about codeine WRT the United States. My info about that was old — I had thought that comparatively low concentrations could still be purchased without prescription as in the past. However the OTC replacement, dextromethorphan, has come up as a drug of abuse as well, so you haven’t really negated my point about this.

          1. Dextromethorphan can indeed be abused. My guess as to why it’s not a controlled substance is that it’s not addictive. That and the altered state it induces is apparently not a euphoric state.

          2. Yes, because of the CFC propellant (which pisses me off to no end, because sometimes they’re the only rescue inhaler that works for me). It’s nothing to do with whether people think teenagers should be allowed to use them.

      3. . . . any pre-teen or teen who is desperate enough to seek out Plan B on her own is in a bad enough situation that it’s monstrous to put obstacles in her way.

        Hear, hear, Anne! Well said.

      1. ah true, i meant in oppose to getting no advice. all in all i’ve realised how ill-informed i was when commenting on this post, other side of the world. Now I do see how ridiculous the whole thing is

    3. Do these idiots realize your child can overdose on laundry detergent?

      I saw a kid (in highschool, no less) carrying out a large container of it from the store the other day. I immediately asked where his guardian was, which he replied he did not have one with him at the moment. Needless to say, I tackled him to the ground until the police arrived and arrested him.

      One life at a time…

  3. What 10 or 11 year old is going to buy emergency contraception for the hell of it? Are there many kids that age who currently take random over-the-counter medication for kicks? If so, do they generally take ones that have no discernible psychotropic effects?
    Unfortunately Obama’s policies and statements over the next year will all be based on the fact that he has the votes of all the left and most of the middle regardless of what he says or does, but has to court what in any other country would be the lunatic fringe but in the USA is the centre right.

    1. “Unfortunately Obama’s policies and statements over the next year will all be based on the fact that he has the votes of all the left and most of the middle regardless of what he says or does”

      Wasn’t Bush elected TWICE because people stayed at home?

      But perhaps you are right, lunacy of the Republicans is so extreme and bizarre this time that people just might be scared enough to go vote. And, of course, there is OWS movement.

      I am beginning to see why Bill Maher thinks Hillary Clinton would have been a much better president.

      1. It’s moves like this one that make me want to stay home, rather than have to hold my nose to vote for Obama.

      2. Yes, because if there’s one thing we know by now, it’s that a Clinton never EVER tacks right with an election coming up.

        Sheesh. People need to remember shit.

        1. To be an effective politician you have to be flexible. Nothing wrong with tacking right. It absolutely may be required at times. But over time one gets to know where you really stand by seeing how much flak you take for a principle. On that count Obama is practically worthless. Even when people weren’t paying attention, or when they were and it was unpopular to do so, Hillary has stood up for science, universal health, reproductive rights, women’s rights, early childhood development etc and has done so with muscular intellect and more cojones than an army of men. All Obama has ever done is give a friggin speech. The reason people are so angry about this (more so than worrying statistics of teen pregnancy and sickening child abuse rates which are a consequence of unwanted children) is that science, reason and evidence continue to take a pummeling. And this is right after we got rid of Bush. It was much more difficult for John Huntsman to stand in the spotlight in front of the nuttiest assembly of conservatives in decades and proclaim Climate Change is real and man-made. That Mormon Republican did not trample on scientific integrity for political expediency. Obama cannot even match him, much less Hillary. It makes me feel utterly hopeless that even in Democrat we cannot find someone with spine who will fight for the most hallowed positions.

      3. >Wasn’t Bush elected TWICE because people stayed at home?<
        Ummm, no. Both the 2000 and 2004 election had higher than mean turnout. Agreed, there was a concerted effort at vote suppression (particularly in Ohio) but it was not decreased turnout that changed the election. Indeed, it was the exaggerated turn-out that elected Bush twice.
        Our electorate is undereducated and easily misled, two factors that predispose them voting for flawed candidates. Think about, did you really think that the voters elected Obama because he was about hope and change, and not about Chicago grifting? They voted for him because they projected upon him their hopes and dreams and he took advantage of it.

          1. “Center-right conservative”?


            By any objective standard, Obama is far and away the most radical hard-right ultraconservative president in all of American history.

            Just look at his war record, at what he’s done with the TSA, at the corporate welfare on an unimaginable scale, and even his tax policies. And, now, even his reproductive rights record. And he hasn’t done dick about the environment or oil dependence, and his education policy is to continue full-throttle with Bush’s catastrophic “Leave No Child Behind.”

            Okay, so he’s in the process of ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Big whoop. Nixon integrated the schools in the South, campaigned as an ERA supporter, and signed Title IX.

            I actually thought, once upon a time, that Obama was cut from the same cloth as Kennedy. That DNC keynote speech he gave way back when was quite promising. Never in a million years would I have guessed that, in practice, he’d be worse than even Bush (even if he’s still more articulate).


          2. What did Kennedy ever do?

            (RFK, had he lived, might have made a difference.)

            (3rd time trying to post this…for some reason, this thread is REALLY giving me problems tonight.)

      4. Wasn’t Bush elected TWICE because people stayed at home?

        Correction: G.W. Bush was elected president only once. The fist time he was appointed by the Supreme Court.

        Of course, once is bad enough.

  4. President Obama says, ““The reason Kathleen made this decision is that she could not be confident that a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old going to a drug store should be able — alongside bubble gum or batteries — be able to buy a medication that potentially, if not used properly, could have an adverse effect.”

    This is, on its face, poor reasoning. All drugs can have “an adverse effect” “if not used properly”, and many of these drugs (acetaminophen, aspirin, etc) are already available to children over-the-counter. If the President’s aim is to avoid harming children, why not recommend age restrictions on these drugs as well?

    1. My thought exactly.

      Hell, rather than put the restriction on the drug, no unaccompanied minors in a location that sells drugs. Done.

    2. Yes but you are missing the point. The guv’mint must protect all women from themselves because women are too damned stupid to make responsible decisions on their own. I mean, just look at that Kathleen Sibelius and her pig ignorant decisions.

  5. Although the political fallout of being the president who endorsed girls’ unpunished sex could be massive, isn’t it lovely that women’s sexuality is still available for use in scoring craven political points?

  6. I’m horrified too. Obama’s reasoning makes no sense whatever. All sorts of over-the-counter medications are dangerous if taken without following the directions. Also, all sorts of over-the-counter medications say on the container that children under 12 should not take except under the supervision of a doctor. So the same labeling could be used, and with the same sort of risks of very young people taking stuff incorrectly. Basically, the Obama’s trying to get re-elected at the price of taking away an intelligent option from young girls who are frightened and facing a problem much more serious than side-effects from Plan-B. As in–pregnancy. My respect for Obama is down yet another notch.

  7. I have also found Obama to be a grave disappointment; I would even say he lies with the enemy. I also believe McPalin would have been much worse – it wasn’t a choice of who was best suited to lead the nation but a choice between the lesser of two great evils.

    1. I’d just like to add that Obama also seems to be gearing to – as McCain put it – “bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran …”

        1. Perhaps you had a “half dozen well targeted” Castle Bravo 15 megaton weapons in mind?:

          Castle Bravo was the code name given to the first U.S. test of a dry fuel thermonuclear hydrogen bomb device, detonated on March 1, 1954 at Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, as the first test of Operation Castle. Castle Bravo was the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated by the United States (but not the most powerful ever detonated), with a yield of 15 megatons. That yield, far exceeding the expected yield of 4 to 6 megatons, combined with other factors, led to the most significant accidental radiological contamination ever caused by the United States. Fallout from the detonation — intended to be a secret test — poisoned the islanders who had previously inhabited the atoll and returned there afterwards, as well as the crew of Daigo Fukuryū Maru (“Lucky Dragon No. 5”), a Japanese fishing boat, and created international concern about atmospheric thermonuclear testing

          If your intent is to target their nuclear weapons program it can’t be done in a targeted manner (that minimises fallout) with nuclear weapons ~ a “bunker buster” burrowing nuclear weapon of that size would make it even worse.

          I assume that you know this & you can’t imagine the results of a suggestion as stupid as yours is.

          The US & Israel have been working on weapons (& tactics) to deal with the mountain at Fordow & nuclear isn’t an option.

          1. The most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated was a 57 megaton bomb set off by the former Soviet Union. A video of the detonation is available on Youtube.

            As for the fallout, one has to break a few egg shells in order to make an omelet.

          2. My quote doesn’t say what you think it does. Here it is again:

            “Castle Bravo was the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated by the United States (but not the most powerful ever detonated)…”

            The rest of your comment ignores my points ~ detonating six 15 megaton nuclear weapons in Iran… the physical effects alone will stretch far beyond the borders of the country & will be with us for decades. The political ‘fall out’ is beyond guessing.

            There is a war with Iran right now in all but name. The main mission is to prevent the R&D & manufacture of nuclear weapon components/materials & the associated launch capability; plus the assassination of scientists, technicians & other individuals who are prime movers in the program. Your solution breaks all the egg shells, kills all the chickens & destroys the hen house.


          3. You know, there’s nothing wrong with assholes like SLC that a half dozen 15 megaton bombs aimed at hir hometown won’t cure. I mean, assuming it’s not upwind of anywhere I care about.

        2. Yes, since killing millions of innocent people will solve all sorts of problems.

          I seriously hope you never have children.

    2. As profound as your disappointment in Obama may be, you cannot compare him to McPalin. C’mon, now! Just to think what would have happened to the Supreme Court can make one pass out.
      How Obama fares in the Democratic field of presidential candidates is another matter. The likes of Paul Krugman always thought he was a featherweight. As with many other things Krugman’s prescience is remarkable. But then we are often reminded of Obama’s accomplishments – financial reform, health care, averting a second Great Depression. True, these are genuine bragging points. What’s not pointed out is that everything he did right is a little less in scale and execution what any other Democratic president would have done following Bush.

  8. I have to say that I’m not comfortable with allowing girls as young as 11 to walk into a drugstore, unaccompanied by a parent or guardian, and purchase this medicine, or any other medicine for that matter. We can argue about what the age should be, maybe it should be younger then 17. However, given that the president has 2 pre-teen children himself, I can see why he might be adverse to their being able to purchase this drug without any supervision.

    1. It matters not one whit what Obama or anyone else is comfortable with – the FDA approved the medication for OTC use. That doesn’t happen easily. It is a long process. If it’s available OTC, it’s bound to be relatively safe. The FDA does not make such decisions on a whim. Obama does not possess the scientific knowledge to overrule the FDA’s decision. It’s a shame he has the legal ability to do so. He’s wrong and this is simply a sickening, cynical political move.

      1. I would partially agree in that the Secretary probably should have compromised and lowered the age limit. However, I still stand on my conviction that 11 year old girls should not be allowed to purchase this medicine without the okay of a parent or guardian. That’s my opinion and I don’t give a hoot what the FDA says.

          1. If Mr. Fisher has no problem with any 11 year old daughters he might have purchasing medicines without his knowledge, that’s his privilege.

          2. See, that’s where your imagination is failing. Any 11 year old in need of such a med is probably not going to have a parent reading this website. In fact, it’s possible it would be her father/stepfather/mother’s boyfriend who knocked her up in the first place.

          3. SLC, you need to consider the options that remain such as a back alley abortion, your daughters will like that, it’s possible they might even survive.

    1. Thank you for the link. I just signed and added this comment:

      “As a physician and surgeon, it is clear to me that the health risks to both 10-11 year old mothers and their fetuses far outweighs the risk of Plan B. Mortality rates are much to high, prenatal care rates much too low to allow such pregnancies to continue, and keep in mind, they are by law the result of rape in the first place. For the child-mother to die from such rape through the horrid pain of a pregnancy her body was not prepared to carry, when a simple OTC pill could have prevented this result, is beyond callus and cruel. Mr. Obama, how many young girls, ages close to your own daughters, must die before you face these facts?”

  9. The pills cost $50 or something like that. So some 11 year old kid is going to buy so many that she overdoses???????

    Speed is important with these pills. They are called “morning-after” pills for a reason. Requiring a prescription is almost guaranteeing they won’t be effective.

  10. There are always adverse effects of medications — after all, an overdose of water can kill you. But seriously, there are adverse effects to the afterthought pill, which can include (rarely) even death. These include arterial thromboembolic disease (stroke, MI), thrombophlebitis, DVT/PE, thrombogenic valvular disease and so on. Granted these are rare, but unfortunately they happen. And if they happened to a young teenager (or younger), there would be Hell to pay.

    Anyway, I don’t think it is beyond the realm of possibility that a teenager could get herself into some real danger. Therefore, a judicious visit to the doctor seems wise to me.

    William A. Bradnan, retired physician

        1. and yet, how many cases of 11 year olds, going into pharmacies, and buying aspirin, and then overdosing on it have you actually heard about?

          you have ZERO evidence to form your opinions with.

    1. If you don’t get into real danger, you aren’t a teenager.

      Pregnancy is perhaps the most dangerous period for most women, and its adverse effects are very many.

  11. Obama has caved in too much to conservatives in a misguided attempt to be conciliatory, but this ticks me off more than almost anything he’s done. It’s just too damn obvious what he’s up to, and his reasons are completely incredible.

    I couldn’t agree more!

    1. Yes, and he ran his true colors up the flagpole when he invited that unctious god-botherer Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation. Most of the rest has been of a piece. IOf e wins again, it’ll be on a default vote.

  12. “In an unusual bit of editorializing in a news article, the Times mentions that possibility:

    ‘The bluntly personal nature of the president’s response suggested that the White House is well aware of the political sensitivities, going into an election year, of allowing broader distribution of the contraceptive, whatever the Food and Drug Administration’s scientific arguments in favor of it.'”

    I don’t find this editorializing on-the-sly anymore to be unusual or rare in the NYT. Reportorial opinionating that A “suggests” B is becoming more frequent.

    Another favorite locution involves the word “signal,” as if by a given action the administration or some offical was “signaling” whatever the reporter ex cathedraesque claims constitutes that “signaling.”

  13. Obama has caved in too much to conservatives in a misguided attempt to be conciliatory, but this ticks me off more than almost anything he’s done. It’s just too damn obvious what he’s up to, and his reasons are completely incredible.

    not really. This is standard US politics, and standard politics in most countries that have a binary party system that don’t have to form coalition governments.

    Obama knows that doing things like this might get him a few conservative votes, and a few moderate votes, and at the same time also knows that his progressive base is NOT going to vote republican, no matter WHAT he does short of starting a nuclear war.

    It’s true, and you know it. None of the despicable things Obama has done and supported over his first term; deliberately turning his back on his progressive base, will make progressives vote for his opponents.

    What you see here is a man with no principles whatsoever, just like Rick Perry. When I finally had to admit to myself this is the case for nearly ALL US federal Congressional and Administration candidates (and has been since before Reagan), I couldn’t see any reason to support such a madness-inspired political system any more, and buggered off to New Zealand. There appears to be little more than a desire to protest the obvious situation, instead of actually working to fix it from the ground up, which is the only way TO fix it. The OWS protests are just people realizing things are fucked up… but they seem to be asking the people that deliberately FUCKED IT UP to begin with to fix it. All they are doing is laughing.

    Greenwald explained all this in great detail after the first year of Obama’s presidency:



    (they keep changing the site structure; one of those links should work.)

    1. for those not wishing to read the full story, here’s the key segment:

      Like most first-term Presidents after two years, Obama is preoccupied with his re-election, and perceives — not unreasonably — that that goal is best accomplished by adopting GOP policies. The only factor that could subvert that political calculation — fear that he could go too far and cause Democratic voters not to support him — is a fear that he simply does not have: probably for good reason. In fact, not only does Obama not fear alienating progressive supporters, the White House seems to view that alienation as a positive, as it only serves to bolster Obama’s above-it-all, centrist credentials. Here’s what CNN’s White House Correspondent Ed Henry and Gloria Borger said last night about the upcoming fight over entitlements and the debt ceiling:

      Henry: I was talking to a senior Democrat who advises the White House, outside the White House today who was saying look, every time this president sits down with Speaker Boehner, to Gloria’s point about negotiating skills, the president seems to give up another 5 billion dollars, 10 billion dollars, 20 billions dollars. It’ s like the spending cuts keep going up. If you think about where the congressional Democrats started a couple of months ago they were talking about no spending cuts on the table. It keeps going up.

      But this president has a much different reality than congressional Democrats.

      Borger (sagely): Right.

      Henry: He’s going for re-election, him going to the middle and having liberal Democrats mad at him is not a bad thing.

      Borger: Exactly.

      That’s why I experience such cognitive dissonance when I read all of these laments from liberal pundits that Obama isn’t pursuing the right negotiating tactics, that he’s not being as shrewd as he should be. He’s pursuing exactly the right negotiating tactics and is being extremely shrewd — he just doesn’t want the same results that these liberal pundits want and which they like to imagine the President wants, too. He’s not trying to prevent budget cuts or entitlement reforms; he wants exactly those things because of how politically beneficial they are to him — to say nothing of whether he agrees with them on the merits.

    2. Ichthyic:

      You are completely correct that there’s nothing incredible about Obama’s work here. Allow me to hazard a guess that when Dr. Coyne used the word “incredible,” what he really meant was another word that you used–aptly if I may say–“despicable.”

      As to “principles,” it isn’t just Obama and Perry who lack them. As far as I can tell, the only principled folks in the U.S. Congress (to cite just one example) are two near-polar opposites: Socialist Dennis Kucinich and Libertarian Ron Paul. I’ve voted for Paul in two presidential elections and generally don’t have much use for Kucinich’s positions, but I respect the hell out of the way he sticks to his guns. Normally, when one uses terms like DINO and RINO, one is criticizing a move (like Obama’s here) toward an imagined center between Demopublicans and Republicrats. Not so with Kucinich and Paul. Note the courage with which both hold their principles; note also that neither is likely to be President any time soon.

      That lofty office is reserved for wholly-owned corporate whores like Obama.

      I hear that new Zealand is lovely…

  14. here’s another thought:

    instead of complaining about Obama, why aren’t progressives pushing a competing candidate for the Primary election?

    there’s nothing stopping anyone from doing that; Obama is not even running unopposed, though apparently his “competitors” don’t actually merit news coverage?

    what about this guy:


    anyone know anything about Richardson?

  15. I don’t like the decision personally, however I know that politics is the art of the possible, and the first hoop is election. It was interesting having just seen George Clooney’s latest ‘The Ides of March’ to watch some of this process. So how one stays on the rational side of cynical (I just made that up!) to prioritise the agenda. Those of us who don’t have to face election based on our considered opinions, have never walked in their shoes.

    1. bah.

      if everyone running in politics actually lead by example, instead of playing “follow the poll data”, you wouldn’t be seeing this.

      I’m glad to see that people are starting to realize this is the state of politics in the US, but I’d add:

      it doesn’t HAVE to be.

      don’t accept it.

  16. I suppose under 17 girls will get the pill the same way they get cigarettes and beer. If you can recall your youth, perhaps you will remember a certain kids’ solidarity against adults.

    1. yeah, because taking an abortion pill sure spells “rebel”.


      besides which, if a kid gets pregnant, but feels to scared to share that information with their parents to begin with…

      the problem doesn’t lie with the kid, and they SHOULD have access IMO.

  17. Every time I point out how Obama lied about closing the Guantanamo Gulag, how he’s poured gasoline on the flames of the war in Afhghanistan, how he’s regularly ordering the cold-blooded murders of civilians, how he continues to massively spy on people without warrants, how he’s ordered the sexual assault of all travellers, how he’s stolen trillions from the treasury to hand to the once-percenter corporate barons in the guise of bailouts for industries “too big to fail,” and on and on and on, his defenders jump all over me about how he’s at least not going to overturn Roe v Wade.

    Any all y’all Obama apologists who’d care to explain how you’re so sure that’s still the case, I’m all eyes.

    And, in the mean time, I would continue to urge everybody: vote your conscience. That’s the whole purpose of voting, and failing to vote your conscience is the only way to truly “throw away your vote.”



      1. so, you buy into this lie as well?

        this is exactly what Obama is counting on, and why a progressive agenda is now dead.

        he simply doesn’t need to address the progressive agenda, because there are fearmongers out there like yourself to convince us all that voting against him would be signing our own death warrants or something.

        here’s a repeated thought:

        why not check out who is running against Obama in the primaries?

        1. ” Fearmongering”? You want scary? THIS is scary:

          The Bush Administration 2001-2009.

          Remember the 2000 election cri de coeur “Not a dime’s worth of difference” between Bush and Gore?”

          If you think Gore would have been 1/10th the catastrophic clusterfuck that Bush was, I have a dime for you.

          And if you think a Democratic president and a Republican president are indistinguishable in 2011, you simply haven’t been paying any attention at all.

          If you want to push the progressive agenda, do it. Run for congress yourself, elect progressives to the Senate and House, support strong progressive voices across the country, and help yank this country to the left where it belongs.

          But if you think sitting out 2012 will help our cause…just remember.

          1. The Bush Administration 2001-2009.

            the polices of which have changed exactly HOW since Obama got elected?

            But if you think sitting out 2012 will help our cause…just remember.

            nice strawman.

            in fact I suggested the exact opposite.

            but then, comprehension seems to be a weak point with you.

          2. If you think Gore would have been 1/10th the catastrophic clusterfuck that Bush was, I have a dime for you.

            but we’re comparing W and Obama, not W and Gore.

            In fact, I voted for Gore.

            if he were running against Obama IN THE PRIMARIES, I would have voted for him in the last election too.

            that said, while I doubt the reaction to 9/11 would have been the same (and that alone *might* have saved hundreds of thousands of lives), in the end I also doubt Gore would have been able to implement his suggestions regarding other things any better than any other Democrat has, going all the way back to Carter. Do recall that Carter was a progressive, and quite intelligent. He sucked at playing politics though. I think Gore’s presidency would have ended up looking quite similar to Carter’s. Also recall how hard the Clinton’s worked on trying to formulate a national health care plan, and how easily that ended up being scuttled. Likewise, even Obama’s plan ended up being completely gutted and twisted beyond recognition from the outline he started with.

            Go check out the alternatives to Obama within the democratic party itself. He isn’t running unopposed you know.

            If those who want sane candidates that stand for ideas instead of politics can’t get it done in THIS election, given that the opposing party is basically re-enacting, for real, Python’s “Twit of the Year” sketch, it ain’t NEVER gonna happen, protests or no.

            I think this is your LAST chance to change things for real. I seriously doubt it will get beyond the whinging and false dichotomies I saw in the 44 years I lived in the US, which of course, is why I finally gave up and moved to a saner country.

            break the cycle, or learn to like being a serf, because that’s the way the US is headed.

            voting for Obama will get you exactly nowhere, and voting for Romney (my guess as to who will get the nod on the R side), will get you to the exact same place.

            change who you vote for in the primaries; change you who vote for in local elections; participate in knowing who actually is running in your local elections. Change the system from the ground up, by working to elect people locally who actually have utilitarian ideals and some actual knowledge of how to implement them to everyone’s best advantage. Then push those successes. Push those candidates upwards.

            it’s the only way.

          3. “the polices of which have changed exactly HOW since Obama got elected?”

            Argumentum ad ignorantiam. I expect better even from you, ToeJam. There are websites that list hundreds of differences, if you really care to know.

          4. and hundreds of things he hans’t, including all the things most of us expected he would, and even things like the very issue we are debating here with Plan B.

            a minor issue in the big scheme of things, but telling nonetheless.

          5. Yeah, every time I think I can’t vote for this fucker again I remember the Supreme Court and how close a lot of important cases are these days and I imagine any one of the current Republican candidates getting even a single nomination in. And then I grit my teeth and resolve to remain a Yellow Dog Democrat for one more election cycle.

            And I don’t think giving up on the United States and running away to somewhere happier and friendlier is a responsible option either. We’re still a very dominant force in international economics and politics, and if all the sane people leave, the crazies are *really* going to fuck shit up. Those of us who know better *have* to stay here and we have to fight.

          6. “Those of us who know better *have* to stay here and we have to fight.”

            I thought that way once too.

            I asked people to fight.

            what I got was less than even the protests occurring now.

            My conclusion was that people WANT things to change, they just don’t want to do what is necessary to actually MAKE things change.

            why stick around and drink that cup of poison?

            I did my time trying. 20 years of wasted effort.

            I need some peace of mind now, thanks.


          7. Well, okay, that’s great and all, but the thing is, if nobody does anything we’re *all* going to drink that cup of poison in the end because of America’s disproportionate influence on the world. It’s fine if you’re old and bitter and have given up for yourself, but don’t foist your defeatism on the rest of us.

        2. why not check out who is running against Obama in the primaries?

          Because any evidence-respecting critical thinker knows they don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of success.

      2. And Angelo Mozilo and Vikram Pandit thank you.

        What, you don’t know who they are, at least without Googling them? Well, that’s pretty much the point, isn’t it?



        1. Who needs facts when you have poorly informed opinions.

          Either you vote for *insert democrat here* or the apocalypse starts… Funny how the apocalypse schedule is perfectly in tune with presidential elections.

        2. QED!

          I should be used to it by now, but it still amazes me how many of those who swear by the importance of scientific analysis when it comes to, well, science, throw all evidence to the winds when it comes to politics, social issues, etc.

    1. I will indeed vote my conscience, which means doing my best to keep a Republican out of the White house. I question whether anyone who does otherwise can truly be said to *have* a conscience.

        1. Er, WTF? I must have somehow missed the part where we’re supposed to start setting our political opposition on fire. Or was this meant to apply to the discussion of bombing Iran instead?

  18. “We all know why Obama made that decision”

    Uh, no…and you don’t “know why” either. The fact is that there are many people who vote Democrat who don’t want their kids to be able to buy prescription medicine without consent.

    I was raised by (Democratic voting) parents who thought exactly that way, and frankly, that is my emotional reaction too.

    True, I see your side and I see that my emotional reaction is illogical. But getting there has taken years.

    So it is very possible (likely?) that is how President Obama really thinks on this issue.

    Hey, I am not going to agree with him on everything.

    I challenge the intellectuals here to go hang out at a Democratic fundraiser in a “blue but working class” area; the experience will be eye-opening.

    1. I completely agree with you. I get a chuckle when people assume all the Democrats (and resp. Republicans) have the exact same set of principles.

    2. And I must add, given the history of the opposition of the right to Obama, I don’t think there is anything that Obama can do that would make the right like him. And I’m pretty sure Obama knows that as well. So I don’t think this was political pandering.

    3. It also is worth noting that Sebelius made the decision and Obama covered her ass, which I suspected he chewed out in private.

        1. Heh. Glad you said it. I thought I’d already been cynical enough on this thread without commenting on this one . . .

          As if any hot-button decision is going to be issued without vetting by the grand Poo Bah.

    4. Well we do know that whatever the reason was, it was not based on solid science and that makes it a bad decision.

  19. Sad pathetic totally grotesque political pandering at its best from our dear leader who is supposed to represent at a minimum at least a sliver of contrast once in a while to the insanity of nearly all of the positions of every GOP candidate currently running for president. In this particular case, nada.

  20. Being old enough to have seen many drugs deemed safe pulled and to have watched what was essentially a grand experiment on women with the birth control pill I am not sure I trust the FDA. In fact, I’m not sure I trust 15 and 16 year old girls not to know they aren’t meant take Plan B regularly but do so anyway. Is pregnancy really the only option? I do understand that condoms are not as effective, that this would help many Catholics and Baptists who don’t have any contraception because sex outside of marriage is a sin and they would NEVER do that – and I think it is a good thing for them to have access to. I just can’t get behind allowing access to children with no controls. I am not sure what the answer is but if we are lambasting the President I’d stick to his utter failure to act on gun control.

    1. Really? With all the economic and civil liberties stuff he’s fucked up, the biggest thing you’re worried about is gun control? I mean, guns are bad, mmkay, sure, but they strike me as kind of small potatoes alongside the rest of it.

    2. “if we are lambasting the President I’d stick to his utter failure to act on gun control.”

      Uh, what? You do know that the Roberts court issued a far-reaching decision on gun control, don’t you? And that the President is the head of the executive branch, not a legislator, right? What would you have him do?

      1. Well, here are some ideas http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/opinion/23kessler.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

        and as a human rights atty, yeah, I know my branches of government. Nice tone. For the rest of you – let me throw in his record number of deportations, continuing to hold people without trial…. It all gets under my skin, but as far as a smaller domestic issue, the failure to co-opt the gun issue is pretty big and a bigger one to me than holding off on letting teenagers – who if they were making good decisions would not be having unprotected sex – unsupervised access to a drug that might effect their still developing bodies. This is not to say they shouldn’t have access. They should. Pregnancy or abortion should not be the only options when a pregnancy can be prevented.

        As for the cost issue, teens get money. They might work, they might steal from their parents; they do all sorts of things to get money all the time. I’m not relying on cost to safeguard a girl’s health.

  21. If they had proper sex ed in schools in this country, this would be a non-issue.

    I’m talking as much about the adults who are getting hysterical as the kids who are getting pregnant.

  22. Just a suggestion: I know that this blog gets read by many famous, credentialed scientists. Why don’t some of you write to the President explaining why you don’t like this decision?

    Believe it or not, they do read their mail and you might get more than a cursory response.

  23. I’m accustomed to wearing a certain amount of psychic armor when it comes to disappointment in my elected officials. Politics is the art of the immediately possible, and that solution space happens to be partially defined by a section of my fellow citizens who would cheerfully participate in witch trials if anyone were to arrange one on their corner.

    Every now and then it gets especially craven, and I can’t be quite so Zen about the inevitable rolling about in the mud. This is one such instance. Everyday medical problem, meet pretty damn safe medical solution, diminished life choices and potential suffering out the window. Let’s be clear- if this was truly a concern about safety, then there would be data on the table. There’s not. And yes, there is some evidence to suggest that the pill places women at risk of certain diseases at rates somewhat greater than say, water, and no one likes that it gets pissed into the water supply- but there’s that part where there are no unwanted babies- and one might imagine that a pill you take in extremity might have fewer effects than constant use. The FDA did their job and said that this represented the class of medical intervention that people could make for themselves (and if they were wrong, get the data and sue them, but until then, let’s assume they got it right) and the powers that shut it down because it conflated youth and sex, and thus sent the Victorian-wannabe brigade into a tizzy.

    Is there anything more exhausting than watching people freak out about teen sexuality? People that are sometimes only seven or ten years distant from their own transition into sexual being, complete with their demands for privacy from parents and authority, and experimentation, and a few heartbreaks and bad calls, and a steadily increasing helping of pleasure, suddenly decide that puberty is nuclear waste to be tucked away- up to and including keeping the simple tools and lessons that keep that transition firmly in the learning/growing/fun column and not in the unending nightmare pit locked away.

  24. The Times’s comment was a reasonable surmise, and therefore it wasn’t “editorializing.” If something in a politician’s actions suggest that politics was behind it (as opposed to science or whatever), we should want and expect news reporters to note that. To call it “editorializing” is to suggest that it somehow strayed from proper journalism.

    1. “The Times’s comment was a reasonable surmise, and therefore it wasn’t “editorializing.” ”

      That’s utter BS. “surmise” = “speculate” … it’s not reporting.

      “to suggest that it somehow strayed from proper journalism.”

      Indeed it did.

  25. “We all know why Obama made that decision”

    Please speak for yourself. I don’t *know* anything about this but what seems to be the case is that Sebelius, not Obama, made the decision and Obama gave her some rather weak after-the-fact support, explaining why *she* made the decision by repeating her rationale, and using phrases like “as I understand it”. I suspect that he is privately giving her hell and is trying to figure out how to undo it. But one way or the other it was bad political judgment.

  26. Why keep restricting the drug from 12 to 16 year olds?
    I suspect Sebelius’ ‘protect the 10 and 11 year olds’ is more a cynical red herring placed there to deflect criticism rather than a genuine argument.
    Making the drug available to 10 and 11 year olds will probably have little effect other than in the rare cases where the individual has both the necessary knowledge of sex and pregnancy issues and the financial independence to buy this drug.
    That argument cannot be applied to older 12 to 16 yr old) children who do know much more about sex and who are more indepedent. It seems particularly cynical to deny them the protection offered by this relatively safe medicine.

  27. His reasons are incredible?

    No, what is incredible is that a majority of Americans don’t believe in evolution.

    Once you accept that the majority of Americans do no process information based on facts, then actions like Obama’s seem a lot less incredible.

    What’s incredible is that you, of all people, need to be reminded of this.

    1. “The reason Kathleen made this decision is that she could not be confident that a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old going to a drug store should be able — alongside bubble gum or batteries — be able to buy a medication that potentially, if not used properly, could have an adverse effect”

      Are you saying the above reason is more credible than something along the lines of:

      “Quite frankly we have little choice other than to keep this medicine unavailable for girls under 18 because a sizeable percentage of the population would prefer if some (probably poor) girls got pregnant rather than have a situation where it looks like we are encouraging the use of birth control for teenage girls – and we need the votes of this group.”

      I can understand WHY he might say the first statement but I don’t have to believe his words.

  28. The thing that gets me with all of this is thus:

    Since Jimmy Carter American liberals have been voting for the lesser evil – and what has it actually achieved exactly?

    Each Republican presidential candidate has been worse than the last. Bush Snr comes off as the competent one next to his son, and each of the current Republican candidates makes GW look sane.

    And the Democratic Party is following. Within the party it is unable to operate because it needs the Republicans to agree with everything it does – it is constantly looking for bi-partisan agreements even though the other party has expressed a distinct hostility to such agreements.

    It looks to me, as an outsider, like America is on the highway to hell, and the only real difference between the parties is that the Democrats are in the slow lane.

    Now, so far as I can see that slow lane status with the Democrats, is a pretty meaningful difference and if you are going to vote that way – sure.

    But, maybe it is time for the slow lane voters to stop attacking the people who want to vote third party. Maybe it is time they stopped blaming people for not wanting the slow lane candidate, and got happy that at least the third party guys showed up and voted.


    1. Good idea. So let me point out the obvious practical challenges with your plan:

      (1) You need to build a base of candidates at a local level.

      (2) You need to build support for your new third party to the point that in wins elections. At the local level or national level. No one votes for parties that routinely lose.

      (3) You need to have a platform handling all policies, that can govern, and has broad support. Just saying you support liberty or focus on immigration is a losing strategy.

      (4) You need to change the culture to the point that the liberal polices you support have political support. Currently the moderates lean to the left of us.

      (5) You need a group of people who will blindly vote for your party just to get it into power. We can’t have the usual idiocy of liberals (esp. atheists) or independents who are herded like cats. You need a political army that will fall into line when needed.

      Currently you have none of this. To get this would require a culture shock of several types. This can be done. But this is very hard work and requires getting your hands rather dirty. No third party member, liberal, atheist, etc is doing this in any effective way and we should.

      1. Bullshit. Your last sentence, that is. For decades people have been banging their heads against a wall trying to accomplish what you outline. It can’t work without changing the electoral system. (Or demonstration, resistance, and violence, as proved by the 60’s.)

        Most of us were once electoral idealists. You eventually come to fully appreciate the forces you are up against–Big Money & Big Media (which is controlled by Big Money). The USA is just too friggin’ huge for idealistic grassroots efforts to have a ghost of a chance anymore.

    2. Attacking third party candidates is the only rational thing to do based on the system we have now. (Unless, of course, it’s a Republican third party candidate, in which case we should send him or her money.)

      The Dems are as beholden to Big Money as the Republicans are, and there’s no way any candidate not supported by Big Money will ever survive, as long as our election process does not change. It is purposefully rigged to favor the status quo.

      Rather than simply continuing this inevitable biannual hand-wringing, the only sensible recourse is to work toward changing the election process itself. Abolish the electoral college (it makes some votes worth more than other votes–how un-American!) and, most importantly, adopt a system of preferential voting, the only way 3rd party candidates will EVER stand a chance of prevailing.

  29. This is a paraphrase of something Gene Weingarten wrote during, IIRC, the 2004 presidential campaign:

    “It isn’t that we have to choose between the lessor of two evils but that our system always gives us the evil of two lessors.”

    Or something like that. Key phrase: “evil of two lessors”

    Weingarten is a columnist for the Washington Post. Mostly humor but occasionally not. Winner of two Pulitzers. Also, co-creator and author of a comic strip call “Barney and Clyde” — which I don’t actually like very much.

  30. JC summarized: “Yes, by all means let young girls have unwanted children; Obama needs himself re-elected.

    “Obama has caved in too much to conservatives in a misguided attempt to be conciliatory, but this ticks me off more than almost anything he’s done. It’s just too damn obvious what he’s up to, and his reasons are completely incredible.”

    Sadly so. Methinks BO’s problems (and thus, our Nation’s problems) are broader and more far-reaching than that, for (as an example) HERE IS WHAT WE WERE PROMISED…
    http://www.breitbart.tv/the-c-span-lie-did-obama-really-promise-televised-healthcare-negotiations/ [2-1/2 minutes]

    http://blog.heritage.org/2010/03/10/video-of-the-week-we-have-to-pass-the-bill-so-you-can-find-out-what-is-in-it/ [5 seconds]

    Yes, yes, these videos are accessed via Wrong-Wing (Christo-saturated neo-conservative) URLs, but there they are, and I (perhaps for only one) am as ticked-off by the short half-life of many of BO’s campaign promises (I’m surprised he’s not radioactive!) as anything else he has done or not done. How long can so very many among the Electorate disregard or forgive such stark differences between what we were promised vs. what we got?

    OK…OK…I’ll crawl back under my (little-l) libertarian rock, I recognize that godless economically conservative social liberals like me are an embarrassment to both major parties, but I just HAD to get that offa m’chest, THANKS for listening and please forgive me!

  31. I want to ask a question / make a few observations. Yes, Obama is doing this purely for politics and this is a stupid policy. So what are we going to do about it?

    It strikes me as odd that on mundane things like a video of a Coyne-Haught debate we can get an email campaign that gets us what we want by shutting down entire email accounts in hours. When it doesn’t matter beyond our pure amusement we are an effective army of soldiers, we fall in line instantly. But when it comes to political issues, we just complain and write blogs. We are politically ineffective and have no political power.

    Also, I agree entirely that Obama did this for pure politics. A few teens will suffer unwanted pregnancies for Obama to win a mere election. GOOD! Better Obama win than Rick Perry. The damage to sexually active teens and the country overall is far worse with a Republican President. The real problem isn’t the political strategy here. The problem is that I think Obama is not a liberal, he’s a moderate on leans to the right of us. If Obama wins and doesn’t need to worry about a next term anymore, he will still keep Plan B from teens without a prescription. We need someone supporting our politics in power and we need leverage over Obama to make him enact liberal policies. And we also need the Democrats to solidly control Congress.

    Plan B is but a minor issue. We are in serious need of political capital. Both as liberals and as atheist.

    1. Concentrate on the “capital” part . . . then you’ll see why the system is rigged against any grassroots movement.

  32. Frankly, I’m more upset that he’s in bed with war profiteers and corrupt financiers. But this bothers me too.

    1. Indeed, everything that the “Occupy” movement stands against, Obama stands for. And yet so many of the people in the Occupy movement plan on voting for Obama.

      It’s like we’re a nation of battered spouses attacking the police to keep them from arresting our abusers. I just don’t get it.



        1. Some analogies are more fragile than others.

          In this particular case, Obama is supposed to be the police, but, rather than arresting the embezzlers, he’s fining the victims for filing the complaint and handing the fines plus interest over to the embezzlers “so they won’t be tempted to take any more in the future.” And, rather than arrest the suspected murders, he’s ordered his soldiers to hunt down and kill anybody on his enemies list — without even bothering to pretend to mention anything in passing to his prosecutors, let alone the courts. And, rather than close down and clean out the torture prisons, he’s putting even more people in them.

          I really should stop now, or I’ll be too furious to get any productive work done the rest of the day.


  33. Here in the UK the morning after pill is available from pharmacists to anyone, even those under 16 and it is free of charge.

    The pharmacists has to satisfy herself there is no reason why the pill should not be supplied. There are some good reasons for not supplying, but in most cases the women is likely to be too sick to be bothered with sex. In the case of under-age girls, she must also consider the possibility of sexual abuse. In addition, in all cases the pharmacist should consider offering advice on contraception.

    With the exception of a few religious types the policy is not controversial.

  34. Obama knows there’s an election in 2012. He doesn’t want to alienate the anti-choice crowd. He knows the pro-choicers aren’t going to vote Republican, so he’s executing a calculated decision and fibbing on his reasoning.

    Obama is desperate to not give his Republican opponent the ammo that he approved an abortion pill for 10 year olds. (I know it’s not the abortion pill, but you’re naive if you don’t think it will be spun that way)

    Using Obama and Sebelius’s stated logic, all products containing acetaminophen (Tylenol) should be similarly restricted. Acetaminophen is the single greatest cause of liver failure in the US, and has an extremely narrow safety range.

    “The reason Kathleen made this decision is that she could not be confident that a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old going to a drug store should be able — alongside bubble gum or batteries — be able to buy a medication that potentially, if not used properly, could have an adverse effect,””

    This describes acetaminophen to the T. Making it even worse, is that acetaminophen is in many different OTC medications making it very easy to accidentally double-up. What 10 or 11 year old can be relied upon to make sure her allergy medication doesn’t contain the same maximum dose of acetaminophen as the headache medicine she is buying and taking at the same time?

    1. In Ireland I had to go to pharmacy to get ibuprofen, I assume (and certainly hope) it is the same with acetaminophen. I’m not sure why you need a prescription for melatonin in the UK, but a bit more caution with drugs people actually are od’ing on (or taking while drinking and destroying their livers) seems reasonable. If we go to all the trouble of assessing health risks – or compiling the data later, at least, then shouldn’t we use that information to protect the consumer in the least intrusive way possible?

  35. Setting aside the psychologic effects of the rape which (by legal definition, at the very least) causes pregnancy in a 10 or 11 year old, the gestalt of socioeconomic factors involved pretty well guarantee a desperate lack of prenatal care coupled with likely poor nutrition and the underdeveloped, small pelvis, a.k.a. birth canal, in the mother. All this leads to low birth weight and premature birth being at higher risk for the fetus, and if the fetus is small enough to exit the pelvis, it is likely weak enough to die or suffer severe issues leading to exorbitant medical costs, little if any quality of life, and absolute servitude of the already raped and punished birth mother. On the other hand, if the birth mother, still a small child, herself, cannot deliver and has been hidden from medical care to avoid public scrutiny of her rapist, she may well die during delivery, when the infant gets stuck. Maternal hypertension, even seizure and death related to that hypertension, is another risk. Here are more details straight from the CDC’s own website (where, otherwise, it is strangely difficult to find data for underage pregnancies below 15 years of age): http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/04news/lowbirths.htm
    Rationally, these are much higher risks than anything Plan B could effect, so the benefit of barring 10 and 11 year olds from access to Plan B does not outweigh the risk.

  36. A political perspective on the Obama accommodating woman’s reproductive rights bullies: http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2011/12/09/plan-b-when-politics-beat-science/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+timeblogs%2Fswampland+%28TIME%3A+Swampland%29&utm_content=Yahoo%21+Mail

    Why do people accept this without loud protest!?

    Policy makers may not make decisions based on the best evidence but we all pay the consequences for this.

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