Obama recently defended the decision of his Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, to continue limiting the over-counter availability of Plan B, the morning after pill, to women under 17. The Federal Drug Administration approved the over-counter use of the drug for women of all ages last February and says this is the first time the Secretary of Health has overruled an approval of the FDA.
Plan B significantly reduces the chances of conception if taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. Women under 17 will continue to need a doctor’s prescription to obtain Plan B, increasing the rate of unwanted teen pregnancies, particularly for those without health insurance or access to abortion clinics.
Obama’s decision was a shock to NARAL Pro-Choice and other organizations who gave full support to Obama during the 2008 election. This was political, an attempt to win centrist votes, not made to further the interests of the majority of women. This shows the need for political independence for the women’s movement, rather than continuing to apologize for politicians prepared to trade away our rights for petty political gain.
We need a mass resurgence of the women’s movement that fights in the interests of the working class women and demands full access to all forms of birth control and family planning.