‘Plan B’ decision puts pro-life groups, bloggers in an unfamiliar position
December 9th, 2011
04:21 AM ET

‘Plan B’ decision puts pro-life groups, bloggers in an unfamiliar position

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – The decision by Kathleen Sebelius to keep age restrictions on the purchase of the “morning after pill” puts some conservative religious groups in an unfamiliar position – endorsing a move by the Obama administration.

Groups like the Family Research Council, who regularly find themselves on the opposite end of decisions made by the Obama administration, came out in support of the administration and in particular, Sebelius, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was right to reject the FDA recommendation to make this potent drug available over the counter to young girls,” stated a release by the pro-life Family Research Council.

In an interview with CNN’s John King, Jeanne Monahan of the Family Research Council addressed the fact that this was an unfamiliar position for the group.

“It is a great pleasure to be able to say congratulations Secretary Sebelius,” said Monahan. “I think you made a decision that was in the best interest of young women’s health,” said Monahan as if she was speaking directly to Sebelius.

President Obama told reporters Thursday that he “did not get involved in the process,” but that he supports the decision.

“As the father of two daughters,” Obama said. “I think it is important for us to make sure that we apply some common sense to various rules when it comes to over-the-counter medicine.”

"The reason Kathleen made this decision was she could not be confident that a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old go into a drugstore, should be able - alongside bubble gum or batteries - be able to buy a medication that potentially, if not used properly, could end up having an adverse effect,” he continued.

In commending Sebelius, many pro-life groups also pressed the Obama administration for more.

“The pro-life movement welcomes Sebelius’ decision, and hopes that HHS will revisit the question of whether Plan B should be available over the counter to anyone,” wrote the Pro-Life Action League in a post on their website.

Pro-life bloggers, while welcoming the unexpected decision, also kept a stead dose of skepticism as to why this decision went their way.

“I try to make a habit out of not criticizing good decisions, even when they are made by untrustworthy people for bad motives,” wrote Thomas Peters at CatholicsVote.org. “So good job, Sebelius, you got one right. Now can we go for two?”

In reversing the recommendations of the FDA, which recommend allowing Plan B to be sold over the counter, Sebelius did not reject the idea of over the counter birth control, a step many anti-abortion bloggers wanted.

Instead, Sebelius cited “label comprehension” as one reason for the reversal.

“Whatever the reason for her decision,” wrote Chelsea Zimmerman at the blog Catholic Lane. “It was certainly the right one.”

Not everyone, however, was patting the secretary on the back.

"It is surely not a scientific decision," says Susan Wood, who resigned as the FDA’s Director of the Office of Women's Health in 2005 in protest to the restrictions on Plan B supported by the Bush administration. "The secretary's rationale is very similar to the one used in the previous administration to block Plan B from going over-the-counter. It is not supported by data."

CNN’s Brianna Keilar contributed to this report.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Abortion • Politics • Sex

soundoff (793 Responses)
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  3. Adriana

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    March 2, 2012 at 3:22 am |
  4. Nwvotes

    Do you think teens should have access the the plan b pill? Vote at Nationwidevotes.com

    January 10, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
  5. Luigi

    Bob, is that a serious question? Ethics doesn't teach that sleeping with your neighbor's wife is wrong. It teaches you how determine why sleeping with your neighbor's wife is immoral. Amounts to the same thing, just more depth.

    I could write an essay on this. Not going to for a CNN forum. (Note, I didn't ask the OP if to answer the questions. I said they were the questions and asked him if he knew how to answer them. I do know how to answer them. I could write an essay. I'm not writing an essay for a forum that's about to "die.")

    December 12, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  6. Luigi

    Doc Vestibule, thanks for your intelligent post. Welcome relief.

    I'm not actually proposing pantheism. I was mostly stating it and other belief systems exist. Unless you define the belief system first, the definition of "God" isn't clear.

    I didn't see a definition of God in the OP. My guess is you are correct in that the OP meant there is no God of Abraham. I believe I'm correct in saying the OP didn't make it clear yet he/she expects others to use their heads... I find that "interesting."

    December 12, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  7. Values

    Teach children about life principles NOT plans.
    # 1 life principle-ABSTINENCE

    When did it become ok for children to have s e x? , there is a reason why you call a child a child, a line that demarcates and differentiates an adult from a child. A child should be enjoying the joys of childhood and focussing on building their lives on sound moral values!

    December 12, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Luigi

      #1 life principle is abstinence? #1? Which ethics theory did you get that from? I don't agree that abstinence is more important then the core values of life, liberty, honesty, etc. Why do you think it is?

      I'm all for teens not having intercourse. Me and my wife can teach that to our daughter. It might even work. But if we do that, how will us teaching her have a significant change on the rest of the world? I could teach my daughter until my face turned blue but this won't change the life of some girl in Los Angeles or Des Moines that I never met. What do we, as society, do about that girl? Take her from her parents? (Then what?)

      Teaching values is wonderful. But teaching values isn't universally solving the problem. Plan B won't universally solve the problem either. The question becomes, will allowing Plan B OTC to 16 and under benefit or harm society (or have neutral effect)? The follow up question is why?

      Can you answer both questions (the ethics question and the reasoning question)?

      If you can't answer an ethics question, why are you preaching values? My hope is that you can answer. My fear is that you can't because you glossed over a bunch of core values when promoting abstinence to #1.

      If you can't, will you please take a college ethics course?

      December 12, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • kiki

      I thought it was do unto others as you'd have them do unto you? Where is keep it in your pants #1?

      December 12, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Bob

      Luigi-What ethics course taught you that sleeping with your neighbors wife is wrong?
      Teaching good moral values to a child starts with the parent.(period).

      December 12, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  8. janjan

    Unbelievably stupid decision! So, Obama, you don't want your daughters to be able to walk into a store and buy powerful meds next to the bubble gum and candy? How about when they're 16 and oops! the condom broke and they may be pregnant? Do you really want to have the conversation about whether to abort, adopt or keep the baby? I don't, so I'll just get Plan B over the counter for myself, and give it to my 16 yo if it's needed.

    December 12, 2011 at 8:10 am |
    • Jared

      But that is exactly what needs to happen, a conversation.

      December 12, 2011 at 8:19 am |
    • Luigi

      Janjan, while Obama is responsible for all the decisions of his Cabinet, he doesn't make all the decisions. There are too many decisions for the President to be involved in all of them.

      Carter tried being a micromanager and he lasted 4 years. Reagan was the opposite of a micromanager and he lasted 8. I chose those two presidents because their styles were extremely different when compared to each other. (I didn't choose them because of politics.)

      December 12, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • Luigi

      Jared, I agree on the importance of a conversation. (Actually, there should be several but I doubt you meant conversation in the singular sense.)

      Anyway, who is responsible for initiating the conversations? The parent(s), of course. Of course, there's nothing wrong with the son/daughter initiating the conversations.

      So, what do we do, as a society, if the parent(s) failed in this aspect of their role? We could throw the parent(s) in jail but does that prevent a pregnancy? So, what do we do? Saying the parent(s) should do a better job hasn't been universally solving the problem. (It has partially been solving the problem. My father had died and my mother was raising me. We she explained parenting responsibility to me, I got it. I didn't get anyone pregnant before marriage. But my mother can't speak too all the kids in the U.S. And would they listen to her?)

      December 12, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  9. Lizard Lance

    Ironic, isn't it, that those who yell and scream about being "pro-life" are the same ones who enthusiastically applaud executions. Now speaking directly toward the article, it's unfortunate that whoever and whatever "CatholicsVote.org" is would have a spokesperson who comes across as a very sad individual. Faith should be celebrated and here we have some guy coming across as bitter and grumpy. Good job, Thomas Peters! Negativity is always the way to convince people of the word of God! How about a few animal sacrifices while your at it? That should bring even more people to Christianity!

    December 12, 2011 at 6:06 am |
    • Mike R

      Criminals have a choice, an unborn child did not.

      December 12, 2011 at 8:10 am |
    • SidB1980

      There is a difference between having had a chance and you killed many people versus never having had a chance and are you aborted for various reasons. I am of the opinion abortion will never go away, but there has to be a common ground. We have age limits on tanning and piercing why wouldn't we have age limits on this pill or abortion or at least parental consent. Take the gov out of the decision and make parents responsible. If they then choose that path for their daughter then I can accept that.

      December 12, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • Luigi

      Mike, it isn't true that all criminals made an unethical choice. But let's pretend it is for sake of my question.

      How is applauding executions consistent with being pro life?

      December 12, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • kiki

      The same people who deny abortion and morning after pills to victims or r a p e and i n c e s t and insist 'thou shall not kill' are quick to hide behind just war doctrines and support the death penalty when killing suits their needs. Its hypocrasy. As for "inoocence" victims of crime who did not give consent are completely 'innocent' and yet people want them punished for a crime someone else commited. Such is their notion of justice.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  10. Whatever

    There is no God. Start using your friggin heads.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:25 am |
    • Luigi

      Don't you have an argument to support your assertion? If you want people to use their heads, then I suggest you lead by example.

      I argue that God exists based upon the fact that multiple definitions exist. One definition is that the universe is God. To then deny God exists would require denying the universe exists. (It would also require denying, to yourself, that you exist). But as Descartes pointed out, "I think, therefore I am." You can't tell if I exist but you can tell if you exist. Thus, God exists if we use the definition that God == universe.

      That, my friend, is an example of using my head. Please do the same.

      If you don't know how I did this, it's called college. Specifically, Logic from the Philosophy Dept and a lot of math classes. Try it. Please.

      December 12, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • LinCA


      You are a fucking moron.

      You said, "I argue that God exists based upon the fact that multiple definitions exist. One definition is that the universe is God. To then deny God exists would require denying the universe exists. (It would also require denying, to yourself, that you exist). But as Descartes pointed out, "I think, therefore I am." You can't tell if I exist but you can tell if you exist. Thus, God exists if we use the definition that God == universe."
      My definition of god is a carton of 2% milk. I know that god exists because he's in my fridge.

      You said, "That, my friend, is an example of using my head. Please do the same."
      No, you idiot, that's twisting reality to fit your delusion. Get a grip, or double up on your meds.

      December 12, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • Luigi

      LinCa, consider for a moment, if you were right, you would have the skills attack my argument instead my person. I did not make up the rules and methods that I used. I learned them in college. Perhaps my professors are morons. Odd, they had PhD and some of them now have Emeritus after their names. Of course, it could be that I didn't learn. Silly professors gave me A's.

      So, please consider that if you are right then you'd have the skills to dismantle my argument. But instead, you attacked my person.

      BTW, there's an intentional mathematical flaw in this post. Can you find it?

      December 12, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Luigi

      LinCa, I do mean the mathematical error. PhD is singular and I used in a plural sense. So, I'm human. Still, the math error remains. Can you find it?

      December 12, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      What you're proposing is more like Pantheism that Deism.
      I think the OP is referring the the anthropomorphic/anthropocentric God model.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • LinCA


      Your argument falls flat because to start by asserting that god = universe, and then claim to prove that because the universe exists, so does your god. No shit, Sherlock.

      I just showed you that there is an easier way to prove your god exists. All you need to do is define it as a carton of 2% milk and look in your fridge. Do you see a carton of 2% milk? Presto, you've just confirmed there is a god!

      What, you say, there is no carton of 2% milk in your fridge? No problem! Just redefine your god. You got a stapler? A loose blue sock named Bob? Some belly button lint? Anything will do.

      You may want to ask for a refund of your tuition.

      December 12, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      but God ≠ universe the Abrahamic god was created some 3500 years ago the universe is older than that, ou's mother on the other hand, Asherah has no confirmation to age she existed before man to paper so you could actually have a boast her to be the universe but Yahweh, is just ridicules. Read your mythos people

      December 12, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
    • Luigi

      LinCa, I did not assert that God == universe. I asserted that one possible definition of God is universe.

      Yes, another possible definition of God is the milk carton. You really don't get it, do you? "God" is nothing more than a symbol string consisting of a G and o and a d.

      I have an idea that might be simpler. Learn a programming language such as C++ or Java. Maybe then you'll understand. Maybe you won't. But it might work.

      December 13, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • LinCA


      You said, "LinCa, I did not assert that God == universe. I asserted that one possible definition of God is universe.
      Yes, another possible definition of God is the milk carton. You really don't get it, do you? "God" is nothing more than a symbol string consisting of a G and o and a d.
      I have an idea that might be simpler. Learn a programming language such as C++ or Java. Maybe then you'll understand. Maybe you won't. But it might work.

      I get that you are merely assigning a new label to the universe. By using the label that is most commonly used for the imaginary friend of most believers on this board, you simply muddy the waters without adding anything to the discussion. Using your definition to "prove" that "God", as in any of the gods typically discussed here, exists is idiotic. All it proves is that you can randomly assign labels to anything.

      That said, I would like to retract part of my first comment on this thread. I would like to strike "You are a fucking moron" and "you idiot". I would also like to apologize for calling you that. That was uncalled for. Sorry.

      Thank you for suggesting I learn a programming language, but I'm already quite versed in multiple languages (programming languages among them), and fluent in some.

      December 14, 2011 at 6:24 am |
  11. Hayley

    I have a crystal ball...
    I see...
    I see a tremendous rise in teen pregnancy. The largest rise ever!
    I see there are conferences on what to do.
    It's caused a ruckus. CNN is having a special on this problem that is so magically difficult to fix.

    Dumb things happen when we outlaw this stuff.
    We're just going to run around in circles with changing this law back and forth for the next few years.

    December 11, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
  12. rkidd

    Way to go Kathleen, I hear the wire coat hanger stock has gone up 30%

    December 11, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Let's not overreact...

      This decision does not make the drug less available than it was a few days or weeks ago. Assuming there is a corelation between sexual activity and the demand for coat hangers, there should be no change in the number of coat hangers required unless the level of sexual activity changes. If the decision to make the drug harder to get causes (corelates to) an increase in sexual activity, then making the drug more readily available should cause (corelate to) a decrease which is counter to the arguments of those who want to restrict it.

      PS: I am not arguing in support of this decision – just the logic of the above post.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:27 am |
  13. David

    I get a kick out of the Catholic guy who said that he doesn't like to criticize good decisions, and then labelled The Secretary an "untrustworthy person with bad motives." Really?!? How do you know what her motives were. Are you her judge? I find most "Christians" or "Catholics" are very good at doing what Jesus explicitly said NOT to do: "Judge not lest ye be judged." Of course, that would mean they would have to actually read the Bible to know what Jesus said. I'm reminded of a bumper sticker that I once saw that said, "Dear Jesus, Please protect me from your followers." Now watch the venom and hatred from the "Christians" in response to this post. Can't you just feel the love?

    December 11, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • Luigi

      God bless you, David.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • SidB1980

      Yes, Jesus said that, but read on to verse 15 of Matthew 7. Be weary of those who come to you as sheep, but inwardly are ravinous wolves. I can't judge people or condemn them, but I can sure wonder about their motives. I'm not sure if anyone has a motive here, but I am for age restrictions or at the very least requiring parental involvment. Gov get out of our family's life and make the parents responsible.

      December 12, 2011 at 8:18 am |
  14. J.R.

    Funny how so many Pro-Lifers never say anything about ending wars. Reason you're "pro-life/anti-abortion" is because you're so Pro-War and know you need more babies that make more soldiers. Hypocrites, all of you. Procreation does nothing but take the problems we have now (joblessness, poverty, etc) and make them much worse. You constantly are speaking out against gay rights, but the last time i checked, we're not the ones responsible for overcrowding this planet.

    December 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • up1652

      It's really about parental rights. Strange to think of an 11 year old girl needing a birth control device but would you not want to know if she was your daugter ?

      December 11, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • Luigi

      up1652, but access was denied to 16 year old girls (in addition to 11 year old girls).

      Even if you are right about 11 year old girls, you didn't address girls 12-16. Please repair your argument.

      December 11, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • Jared

      I see no problem denying a 16 year old access to this drug. 16 year old kids can't do a lot of things. They can't enter into a binding agreement, in many states they can't drive, In most they can't marry without parental consent. The list goes on and on. No 16 year old kid needs to be making this decision, or going through it alone.

      December 12, 2011 at 8:14 am |
  15. como1

    So was politics the sole criteria for Sibilious. More reason for this Administration to go.

    December 11, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Luigi

      You asked a question. AFAIK, you don't have an answer. How can you legitimately draw a conclusion from the answer when the answer is unknown?

      If you meant to assume an answer, then I wish you had done that. For instance, "if so, then...."

      December 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  16. vel

    the hypocrisy of those who claim to be "pro-life" is amusing. If you were really pro-life, you'd support the children you cause to be born. But you don't, whining about public schools and welfare. You are not "pro-life" at all, you are only pro forcing your beliefs on others.

    December 11, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • como1

      43 million plus abortions since RoeVWade. What crime did the unborn committ to deserve the death penalty?

      December 11, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • HotAirAce

      70% of which were had by believers...

      December 11, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, please with the "death penalty" manure. Knock off the drama.

      December 11, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Luigi

      Como, are you going to address the complaint in the OP or just repeat a mantra? If you want to demonstrate there's depth to your position, address the complaint. If you want to demonstrate shallowness to your position, then be silent (don't post) or just keep posting mantras.

      Or I could ask you a different question. What do we do with those millions (at least) babies in "test tubes?" How do we save them? Or should they too be murdered due to inaction on your part?

      December 11, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Fundies aren't actually against abortion. They're furiously opposed, though, to anyone enjoying s_ex, which they regard as the original sin. Engaging in s_ex is one of the worst things you can do, in their eyes; the only thing worse is having a good time while you're doing it. Abortion is just a prop they wave around while pursuing their true goal of limiting s_ex as much as possible and making sure those who have it don't enjoy it.

      December 11, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • Luigi

      SixDegrees, who are these fundamentalists who don't think marital relations shouldn't be pleasurable? Do you think your statement is true for some fundamentalists or all fundamentalists?

      December 11, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • Jared

      Actually there are a great number of us pro-lifers who believe the death penalty should be done away with. I happen to be one of them.

      December 12, 2011 at 8:16 am |
  17. 21k

    so religion wins out over reality, truth and science again. no news here.

    December 11, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • Luigi

      While your conclusion may be correct you haven't produced a valid argument (or any argument for that matter).

      December 11, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Valid arguments in favor of relaxing age limits for this drug were already put forward by numerous scientific studies and the experience of several entire nations which did so years ago with no noted ill effects. What really needs explaining is why these valid, rational studies were tossed aside apparently based on nothing more than personal whim.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Luigi

      SixDegrees, my comment was directed at 21k in that the POST didn't contain any valid arguments to support a claim that religion won out over science, etc. I was not trying to claim (and am still not trying to claim) that the science research wasn't valid.

      My point is that I don't have enough information to claim that the science research was valid or invalid. My GUESS is that it valid but I don't know. Unless people attach an argument to their assertions, I can't review the argument for validity and potentially use that to form an opinion.

      Was it religion? I don't know. Perhaps it was politics. Perhaps a combination. If it was one, the other or both, what flavor of religion and what flavor of politics?

      December 11, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  18. Stacey

    So the gov wants to protect people from abusing Plan-B. Those who are pro-choice should be thrilled about this. Why? Because the gov doesn't want to protect a potential life.

    Plan -B should be available at schools, gas stations, vending machines; if you have teens who are bad then you should have ample supply at home as well. If someone wants to use this every single week, I'm all for it. Hopefully abusing this product will mess them up enough so they will eventually never be able to breed. Give them want they want.

    December 11, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • Luigi

      Stacy, it's supposed to be Plan B. It shouldn't be used every week. If someone needs contraceptives every week or multiple times per week, they should use one of the "Plan A" methods.

      December 11, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Stacey

      Luigi, I get that. But there are idiots of the world who would use the heck out of Plan-B rather than take a daily regimen of prescribed birth control–even if they have free health care or other insurance.

      December 11, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • Luigi

      Stacey, while I don't like the word idiots, I agree the world has fools and some of them would improperly use Plan B. I think it's rather clear that you aren't one of the fools.

      December 11, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
  19. SixDegrees

    Michelle Duggar just miscarried. She should be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

    December 11, 2011 at 8:40 am |
    • derp

      Her box must look like the grand canyon

      December 11, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • HotAirAce

      At least one is beautiful.

      December 11, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You know, comments like yours, derp, make it quite clear that men should have nothing to say about what women do about a pregnancy. You aren't capable of seeing them as anything other than f* ck toys.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
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