Obama drops appeal of “morning after pill” suit. Plan B should be over-the-counter soon.

The Obama administration suddenly last night dropped its appeal of a lawsuit forcing the government to make Plan B, the so-called “morning after pill,” available without a prescription in the nation’s pharmacies.

Plan-B-One-step

In principle, this should mean Plan B will soon become available in pharmacies over-the-counter.

The Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff, tweeted late last night that a senior administration official told her that the President still opposes over-the-counter Plan B for young girls.  But when I asked her about this, she clarified that, even though he’s opposed, he’s going to comply with the court order for the same reason they dropped the appeal – they don’t think they have a legal leg to stand on.  Kliff has since posted a story on this as well.

The lawsuit came about when the administration blocked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from proceeding with making Plan B an over-the counter drug not needing a prescription in 2011.  A federal judge had ordered the administration to reverse its decision, accusing them of putting politics before science.  The administration had initially appealed the federal court ruling, but now has dropped its appeal.  And while it would have been nicer had we not had to go this route to start with, it is good news that the administration – à la DOMA – is exercising its right not to go to court.

Not surprisingly, anti-abortion advocates are already up in arms about the decision, even though this is not an “abortion pill” – it simply interferes with conception itself:

plan-b-one-step-lawsuit-droppedMore on what Plan B is from the Huffington Post:

The morning-after pill contains a higher dose of the female hormone progestin than is in regular birth control pills. Taking it within 72 hours of rape, condom failure or just forgetting regular contraception can cut the chances of pregnancy by up to 89 percent, but it works best within the first 24 hours. If a girl or woman already is pregnant, the pill, which prevents ovulation or fertilization of an egg, has no effect.

More background on Plan B from Gaius, writing last December.

And for even more background, and much more fun, here’s Stephen Colbert’s recent take on the Plan B controversy:

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Wendy

    It will also give teens the ability to be careless and irresponsible when it comes to having sex. It could also end up becoming a form of birth control for those who don’t want to go to the doctor, or get their parents involved. Having this viewpoint is almost promoting unsafe sex which is dangerous for anyone, not just teens.

  • Evan

    I think it is good that plan b will be over the counter because it will give teens the option to not have to have babies that they will not be able to properly take care of.

  • Wilamina

    Have you seen the commercial for this! It’s completely and utterly offensive. One of the first things said is “sex , I won’t let anything stand in my way.” So does that mean you can carelessly have sex and not reap the consequences. Furthermore the commercial goes ranting on how it won’t be embarrassing anymore to buy it. Shouldn’t it be though. Wouldn’t that make you think twice about not using a condom or making sure you responsibly take your birth control. It is made out to be something that you could stock up on like toothpaste, have and do all you want for ‘3 to 5′ days prior and then pop this pill with your morning breakfast and your good to go! This issue shouldn’t even be so political because Obama is going to do as he wants and pleases and setting even religion aside, when it comes down to it, this issue is the basis of responsibility and taking account for your actions.

  • Nancy Crutcher

    I am not against this morning after pill but, what I just want is that
    there should be a prescription from gynecologist before buying these medicines.
    If this will just be released without any restrictions then there might be a
    tendency that these teenagers will be dependent that they can just have sex and
    without thinking of their responsibility after. They won’t become a good parent
    in that situation. -http://www.femicaresurgery.com

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    It is especially ironic that this ‘first black president’ promotes and supports policies that have such devastating effect on African Americans.

  • http://poodyheads.wordpress.com/ zorbear

    I voted for Rocky Balboa — I really thought he had a fighting chance…
    :-|

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I voted for Rocky Anderson. The first time in my entire adult life I didn’t vote for a Democratic candidate for the presidency.

  • silas1898

    And a good little distraction from the NSA thang.

  • Indigo

    Those are very good points. The patriarchal tone is evident, you’re right about that. I tend to brush it aside but I’m beginning to see where it bubbles up when he moves to accommodate Republicans along with his constant courtship of Wall Street. It’s the patriarchal syndrome, the Boys Club mentality and, yes, it bothers me. Maybe he’s an Eisenhower, though. Obama’s as much a Republican as Eisenhower was a Democrat, possibly more so.

    I should have voted Socialist and I’m sorry I didn’t. Next time.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Partly, I think, as Sweetie says below, that Obama has this constant desire to placate the radical right in a misguided attempt to get them to like and accept him.

    But also partly because the thread of sexist patriarchy runs deep in American culture, and you could hear it in the way that Obama kept framing his opposition not in terms of rationality or science, but in the context of his wanting total control over his own daughters’ sexuality.

    For instance, contraceptive medication remains a prescription — despite a prior recommendation from an advisory committee to the FDA that it should be OTC. It would save women billions of dollars in unnecessary doctor’s visits and truly move the decision as to whether or not to get pregnant at any time into women’s hands.

    The recommendation was rejected. Apparently we women are too dumb to manage our own bodies without professional intervention — preferably male, I’d imagine.

    If a boy gets a girl pregnant, the boy’s parents might never learn about it — and what’s interesting is I’ve not yet noticed any similar push to make condoms illegal for those under 17 years old to purchase. But this idea that the about-to-be-pregnant girl could take matters into her own hands and make her own decision is anathema to the patriarchists. Forcing that girl go to her parents so that she can get the Plan B medication (because how else is it going to happen anyway?) is the final lever in the institutionalized slut-shaming, the misguided belief that loading up the potential negative consequences will somehow force those girls to choose to abstain.

    In other words, the onus remains on the girl to be the responsible one and to have to say no, and for her to take on ALL of the negative consequences should she engage in sexual activities.

  • Jimmy

    I’m not sure it’s a “naive belief.” Republican controlled state government have made great inroads into making legal abortion so onerous and difficult that you might as well consider to be gone. At the federal level it may not happen, but it’s happening at the state level all the time.

  • Sweetie

    Abortion is a very large weapon for the religious right. For instance, my mother and sister always vote Republican because of their naive belief that the GOP will end legal abortion. I have met plenty of others with the same opinion. This offers them the ability to ignore politics entirely while feeling righteous.

  • Sweetie

    Obama doesn’t want to be seen as anything but a moderate, except in specific situations (fundraising with the “left” and rallies with students). So, he “opposes” the pill long enough for the courts to do the work for him, forcing him to accept it. He continues to pretend to be concerned about the opposition to try to take some of the steam out of the right-wing, as abortion is one of their main political weapons. In reality, he doesn’t care a fig about the morning after pill one way or the other.

    That’s my guess. This is similar to his attack on pot growers. That doesn’t stem from a personal opposition to pot. It stems from political opportunism, Obama’s bread and butter.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Good news.

    It doesn’t mean that Democrats are getting better, just that they’re backing down just a bit from pandering to the cults. They remain one of the two parties of racism, misogyny and anti-LGBT bigotry as well as war and economic chaos.

    Democrats and Republicans are the enemy of progress.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    11-D in what sense?

  • Phil Perspective

    Two things. People on other blogs claim this is more 11-D chess. Also, if you’ve ever listened to President Obama speak, you’d know that he considers this subject very icky and is letting his personal feelings about his own family guide the decision for the whole country.

  • samizdat

    But…but…every sperm is sacred!

    (The life of the woman? Not so much)

  • nicho

    Exactly. It’s just a result of his total lack of any core principles beyond crass self interest.

  • arcadesproject

    It kind of creeps me out that O remains personally opposed to protecting young people from the ravages of pregnancy and child birth. It’s loathsome to enable that kind of harm to young and vulnerable people.

  • evodevo

    It’s called political calculation. 2012 was coming up and there was a need NOT to goad the screaming fundies any more than they already were. He doesn’t have to be as careful now.

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