The Obama Administration’s misstep in overturning the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recommendation on Plan B emergency contraception caught everyone off guard, primarily because it is in such violation of its own policies on science driving public health.
The FDA yesterday recommended that Plan B One-Step emergency contraception (EC) be available to women of all ages over the counter without a prescription who are at risk for an unplanned pregnancy. Currently it is only available to those older than 18 even though evidence is that it is safe for those younger than that. Many believe FDA’s recommendation was going to be an important step forward after the Bush Administration – once again in violation of the FDA’s recommendation – blocked over the counter access to EC.
We thought this kind of politics-trumping-health action was a thing of the past – but evidently that’s not the case. Even when it is in complete violation of the Administration’s own policy for scientific integrity – which states that “Science and the scientific process must inform and guide decisions of my Administration on a wide range of issues, including improvement of public health, protection of the environment, increased efficiency in the use of energy and other resources, mitigation of the threat of climate change, and protection of national security. The public must be able to trust the science and scientific process informing public policy decisions….”
We’d guess that this is more about political pandering to some…but certainly not to women who know prevention is prevention – and that this is their right. And the government has stated a number of times in various policy efforts that contraceptive methods are part of preventive services. This action continues to limit access for many to this method of preventing an unplanned pregnancy.
Advocates are undertaking several steps to try to get the Administration to undo this wrong – and one easy way you can help is to add your name to this petition asking the Administration to not let politics trump science.
Who knows if we can change this major misstep, but they need to know we think it is simply wrong.