The day after his great and tough speech in Kansas, President Obama turned around and caved in to his enemies and betrayed his friends.
He did so by having his Health and Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sibelius, do something that no other HHS secretary has ever done before: and that’s to overrule the FDA.
The issue was whether to allow emergency contraceptives, often called Plan B, to be sold over the counter to girls under 17.
The FDA insisted that it was a safe and effective way to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Many women’s groups and medical professionals had been campaigning for Plan B for years and years. (Planned Parenthood said it was “extremely disappointed” in the decision. Couldn’t it have come out with a stronger statement than that?)
Simpler, easier, less complicated, and less costly than an abortion, Plan B offered the hope of easing a terrible crisis for teen girls.
But the Obama Administration crushed that hope. It told Sibelius to veto the FDA’s ruling—and told teenage girls that they’re out of luck.
And they did so for the crassest of political reasons: to try to forestall a negative ad campaign by whoever is Obama’s Republican opponent in 2012.
The psychological and physical health of teenage girls counts for nothing in the political calculus of the Obama team.
Which leads me to wonder whether the Obama we saw in Kansas was authentic, or whether that, too, was just politics.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Occupy Activists Push Ahead."
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