- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Middle Eastern firm’s deal to manage U.S. cargo port raises security concerns
- Bob McDonnell’s defense: Lonely wife developed ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House Republicans unveil bill to speed deportations of border children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
Birth control stances test Obama’s liberal base
Question of the Day
The debate over minors’ access to contraceptives is testing the loyalty of groups traditionally among the biggest supporters of President Obama, who said Thursday he is “comfortable” with his administration’s efforts to find a middle ground on the issue.
Reproductive rights groups Thursday lambasted the administration’s decision to appeal a federal ruling that would have made the morning-after pill Plan B One-Step available to all ages without a prescription.
But conservatives cheered the move — an indication that traditional battle lines over contraception have blurred, at least for a few days.
The National Organization for Women, which praised Mr. Obama’s re-election in November as a “truly pivotal election,” said the Democratic president should have practiced what he preached during a speech last week before Planned Parenthood, when he promoted a woman’s right to make her own health decisions.
“It is deeply disappointing that the administration has chosen to pursue this appeal, refuting the judgment of the experts at the [Food and Drug Administration], the American Academy of Pediatrics and common sense,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
At issue is an April 5 order by U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman in New York, who said Plan B One-Step should be available without age restrictions within 30 days.
The Justice Department announced late Wednesday it plans to appeal the order. It also requested an immediate stay of the judge’s ruling, which otherwise takes effect Monday.
The government’s decision came one day after the FDA approved an application from the morning-after pill’s maker, Teva Women’s Health Inc., to let girls as young as 15 obtain the drug — one of the three types of emergency contraception — without a prescription. The current age limit is 17.
Mr. Obama, in Mexico on Thursday, said he was fine with the FDA’s move, citing scientific research, and with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ decision to pursue some form of age restrictions in 2011, which Judge Korman criticized as an “obviously political” decision ahead of an election.
“But I’m very comfortable with the decision they’ve made right now based on solid scientific evidence for girls 15 and older,” he told reporters while traveling in Mexico.
Tuesday’s decision to lower the age of access to 15 upset conservative groups, even if they now applaud the Justice Department’s decision to fight Judge Korman’s ruling.
Rep. Mark Meadows, North Carolina Republican, thanked the administration Thursday for contesting the court’s order.
He was among 50 members of Congress who signed a letter last week urging the Obama administration to pursue the appeal. The letter was signed by some of the fiercest Republican opponents of Mr. Obama’s health care law — including Reps. Diane Black of Tennessee, and John Fleming of Louisiana, who held a news conference in March to unveil legislation that would repeal a part of the overhaul that requires many employers to insure contraceptives.
For months, Mr. Obama has been attacked by Republican lawmakers and religious groups for failing to exempt faith-based nonprofits and religiously devout employers from the law’s contraception mandate, arguing morning-after pills such as Plan B and Ella amount to abortion.
Yet those who decried the requirement are supporting the Obama administration’s decision to fight a ruling that would allow young teenage girls to purchase morning-after pills at the neighborhood store.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sen. Joe Manchin sued by his brother over old loan: report
- Putin a 'megalomaniac' who must be challenged with force: Sen. Johnson
- New Mexico decides to use HealthCare.gov for 2015
- New Englander Scott Brown turns his gaze to the U.S. border crisis
- HHS: 'Donut hole' reforms saved Medicare enrollees $11.5 billion since 2010
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- McCLAUGHRY: Finish off the "Islamic State" quickly and cheaply
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Kerry's credibility questioned as fighting in Gaza rages
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world