‘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)
  1. SixDegrees

    Sebelius will be removed from her position – as she should be over this decision. However, that will not happen until after the election next November to avoid riling up the fundamentalist theocrats fawning over this decision. Expect a mild rebuke from the Administration in the meantime, just to keep all their bases covered.

    December 11, 2011 at 8:08 am |
  2. Nancy

    I remember the days before Roe v. Wade. I remember people in my high school taking trips to Canada (many thanks to our "most important neighbor to the north!"); this is in the early 70's – when the pill became available, but before parents were smart enough to get their kids on it. I also remember people ending up in the hospital from various back alley attempts at abor tion. I remember a few deaths as well.

    Frankly, given the choice, I'm not all that sure I would have had an abor tion, but I will defend to the death a woman's right to that option in a SAFE and LEGAL fashion. That collection of cells that parasitically lives in a woman's uter us is not a human "life" until it is able to live outside that wo mb. A man has NO FREAKIN' CLUE what's involved in nurturing the little parasites to term, and has no business forcing anyone to do so. And, yes, they ARE parasites when they feed off the host body and cannot survive without it.

    I have nothing against preg nancy and birth – I did it twice myself, resulting in two bright, beautiful, very much wanted children. They were still parasites in the wo mb, though (and, yes, they've heard that story and agree). I wouldn't con demn ANY woman to dealing with that experience unless it was the woman's choice.

    The rest of you... the men and the psalm-singing, bible-thum ping woman that love them... stop trying to legislate what happens to the ALREADY BORN in favor of the parasitic cells. If you're so concerned about human life, try adopting one of the many LIVING children that cannot find loving homes! That's the part that really frosts my cookies about the fun die nut jobs... they blather on sanctimoniously about their love for the unborn, but don't give a d@mn about the children already living who so desperately need help.

    December 11, 2011 at 2:28 am |
    • Pet Sounds

      I agree 100%. There will come a time (we are already on the way) when this planet can no longer sustain our increasing numbers. If we were on the verge of extinction it would be a different story but I look around and see no shortage of people.

      December 11, 2011 at 2:45 am |
    • Blessed Geek

      For goodness' sake, this is nothing about roe / wade. Or about going to Canada/Mexico to get plan B. This is about giving you the right to decide for your adolescent daughter. You probably either don't have a daughter or you don't give her a dang.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:03 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You don't know anything ABOUT Nancy, Geek. Allowing girls to purchase Plan B without a prescription isn't going to stop you from controlling what your daughter does unless she is dishonest, sneaky, or afraid of you.

      December 11, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Nancy

      @Geek... I have a daughter, 25 years old in fact. Before she started dating, we made sure that she knew and understood about the available methods of birth control. I accompanied her to her first GYN appointment. If Plan B had been available when she was an adolescent, she would have had access to that, too. My child had all the advantages that knowledge and education could provide when entering her adolescent years – in addition to parents with open minds and willing ears. No subject was too touchy or 'sacred' for us to discuss. This was not about "control," it was about education and empowering her to make informed decisions from an early age.

      To date, she's had about three partners... and hasn't been pregnant, become a prost.itute, or promiscuous, unlike the claims of those who argue against s.ex education and education in methods of birth control. She's well aware of the failure rates of both pills and con.doms, and uses both. Too bad so many of her peers didn't have her advantages... I'm guessing that, if you have children, they might be in the same boat from your response to my comment.

      And what the heck does "give her a dang" even mean??? Is that like caring about one's child? I'll let you decide whether or not I "gave her a dang."

      December 11, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  3. lebowski1776

    Please...The point could also be argued that every single ejaculation is murdering millions of would-be souls. You could also argue that every egg a woman fails to birth is murdering a soul. You could argue these things if you were an idiot, and a lot of the other arguments aren't far off from being this moronic.
    There's such a thing as moderation. Use the brain God gave you for once. Who's to say Jesus didn't create birth control as a means of mercy and forgiveness for your sins and mistakes? Why do Christians always want to twist this lesson of forgiveness, Peace, and Mercy, into one of self-righteousness, judgement, and guilt? In the end the decision should be up to the Mother. If you can't respect that, why should we respect YOU?

    December 11, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • Captain Tom


      December 11, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • George

      Because it is sin. How can anyone respect sin?

      December 11, 2011 at 1:10 am |
    • Luigi

      George, chapter and verse please. It's legal to be married at 16 so I'm looking for how it's a sin for married people.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:15 am |
    • George

      "Thou shalt not kill."

      December 11, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • Luigi

      George, killing sperm is a sin? There is no way for a healthy man to avoid killing sperm. Failing to ejaculate, doesn't save them from dying.

      And let's look at women. They have 1 to 2 million eggs at birth. Almost all of them are going to die. The ones that have a chance to live are dropped during ovulation. If the women doesn't get pregnant, the egg dies. Is that murder? What if a 10 year old girl drops an egg. Is it murder because she doesn't have intercourse with someone? I hope you answer no.

      I don't see how Thou Shalt not Kill applies in this case.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:31 am |
    • Piper

      Funny that George drops these morality arguments like jewish high priest from Jesus' era.. but turns tail when anyone brings a little bit of logic to counter his lopsided morality. I wonder why he never answers a logical query..

      December 11, 2011 at 3:56 am |
    • Angelo

      George, just out of curiosity, are you opposed to war and capital punishment? I'm just wondering, because you quote the commandment "thou shalt not kill" without making any qualifications.

      December 11, 2011 at 8:04 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      George, you're a putz. Are you opposed to spermicides? All oral contraception? Contraception for married people? All people?

      Really, you are so ridiculous it's almost no fun to point out your idiocy. Since when is your notion of sin against the law?

      December 11, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  4. Pet Sounds

    My question to Christians is where do the souls of the aborted go?

    December 10, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • George

      This is a fundamental question open to debate. Personally I think they go straight to heaven because they never even had the chance to be baptised of water and spirit. They never had the chance to accept or reject God. But I know that there are some who would disagree.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:14 am |
    • Pet Sounds

      George, if I believed in God that is how I would imagine it to be. And if it were true, in my opinion it seems they are getting the better deal. They never had to suffer the world or be lead down the path to hell fire by false teachings. So from that perspective abortion is a favor to the unborn! I admit that was a little tongue-in-cheek lol.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:30 am |
    • Piper

      Now George, whats wrong for a soul to go meet god in heaven? based on your argument you should support abortion as a soul is saved..

      December 11, 2011 at 3:58 am |
  5. TJeff1776

    A woman should have control of her own body 100% of the time; IF she wants to give birth...good....if not, then don't. Strictly her business what she does with her own body. I've heard the bogus arguement by the lifers of "but there's two or more bodies there". I couldn't care less- its still her body giving birth and not theirs

    December 10, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • Luigi

      I understand your position but you didn't prove any support. At least in Roe v Wade, the Justices explained their opinion. You didn't explain. Why not?

      December 11, 2011 at 1:17 am |
    • Bill

      @ TJeff1776: You are making two contradictory statements: that a woman has the right to control her own body and that a woman has the right to get an abortion even if someone else's body is affected. If what is being aborted is part of the woman's body, then I see no reason why the woman should be barred from aborting it. Otherwise, another human being's rights should be respected.

      Also, should the man who impregnated the woman have a say in whether the woman gets an abortion? I assume that you would say no. Then the man should not be held responsible for supporting a child if he expresses his preference for an abortion but the woman decides to give birth. A man is responsible only if he has brought children into this world. If that which is aborted is merely part of the woman's body, then no child has been created at the point at which the decision of whether to have an abortion is being made. If the woman decides to have a child, she should bear the responsibility for her own decision. The most for which the man should be held responsible is paying for half of the abortion's cost. The need for an abortion, should the woman choose to have one, is the only thing the man helped create.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:35 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The man doesn't get a say. He isn't the one who bears the risks to health and life that pregnancy entails. If you want a say, Bill, you can either wear a con dom, or only have s3x with your spouse who agrees with you on what to do should pregnancy occur. You don't get a 'say'.

      December 11, 2011 at 11:01 am |
  6. Whodunnit

    Repeatedly, clinical studies have shown that anywhere from 20-40% of conceptuses are spontaneously aborted- yes, 20-40% depending on the study–presumably because they are non-viable genetic monsters. So much for "God" getting it right, eh?

    Fundies, wake up and smell the (deceptive DNA of which you're a part!

    December 10, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
    • Whodunnit

      Gotts love autcorrect - just when you think you've got it covered- Meant "defective"

      December 10, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • Luigi

      Probably more than 40% if you count "disappearing twins." In about 1 out of 8, there are two fertilized eggs. Most of the time, one of them dies. Some of the time you get fraternal twins. Very rarely you get a chimera.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:19 am |
  7. fedupwu

    It is one thing to have an opinion, however you should not put your opinion onto someone else. I personally do not know if I would have an abortion, but back in the 60,s my sister had a back room abortion and bled to death. I barely remember her because I was only 5 or 6, but I do know one thing. When God was on the cross and dying I don't recall anywhere in the Bible him saying he appointed any one of use to act in his steed until he return. So stop playing God and thinking you have the right to make people do what you want.

    December 10, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • vbscript2

      So, should we also stop trying to prevent other murderers, rapists, robbers, etc. from doing what they want? Do you have the right to make them do what you want? Anyone who says we shouldn't legislate morality is either a complete anarchist or being intellectually dishonest. One person's rights end where someone else's begin. It is utterly abhorrent that our courts have placed a mother's rights to privacy and convenience ahead of her child's right to live. The primary purpose of government should be to protect the rights of the people against those who would take them away. No right should be held higher than the right of an innocent person to live.

      December 10, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      vbscript2, agreed but a clump of cells is not a person, innocent or otherwise.

      December 11, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • Luigi

      vbscript, where in Roe v Wade does the word "convenience" exist?

      December 11, 2011 at 1:57 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      vb, this argument fails. The Consti tution guarantees rights to people, not fetuses. Murder is the illegal taking of a life because it is an infringement on a PERSON'S right to live–a fetus is NOT a person with the rights guaranteed to those born.

      December 11, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Therefore, vb, no, it is NOT 'abhorrent" to put a woman's rights ahead of a fetus's. Of the two, SHE is the one with rights. The fetus's 'rights' are only granted to it by her.

      Not one of you anti-choice zealots has ever been able to think past your easily-uttered nonsense to the end result of your desire to legislate morality by giving a fetus "equal rights." Here, maybe you can. Suppose a woman is pregnant. She is told by her doctors that the fetus needs surgery in utero. The woman doesn't want to have this surgery. If the fetus has "equal rights", she can't refuse. Yet if she is forced to have the surgery, HER rights are being abrogated. In this country, one cannot be forced to give even a drop of blood against one's will, not even if it's a case of life and death.

      You zealots want women to become lesser beings when they become pregnant so that a fetus can be "equal". But it cannot be 'equal'. It will therefore have to have "special rights".

      Is that what you want? Really? Because if the government can force women to give birth, it can just as easily decide that some fetuses will not be beneficial to society and must be aborted.

      Answer that puzzle. No one else of your sort has ever been able to do so. Until you can, your position is indefensible.

      December 11, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  8. navin johnson

    I think this is an emotional issue because it allows very young girls, under the age of 17, to get this over-the-counter. I remember back in 80's in high school, my 15 year old girlfriend was able to get birth control and condoms from a city clinic without her mom knowing about it. Her mom found out and was very angry. Later they passed laws making that illegal. Not sure what laws are today, though. Its a tough call. Safety is an issue but the FDA says they cannot see any problems safety wise. Do you raise the possible risk of an unwanted teen pregancy when a teen refuses to talk to their parents? Its a hard road to be on.

    December 10, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • Luigi

      Very young girls haven't entered puberty. (That's pretty much by definition of "very young girl." Getting rid of the "very" might help.)

      December 11, 2011 at 1:33 am |
  9. george of the jungle

    Unless you are in the position to need this pill I think you should butt out. I agree young people need consent and agree with the president. As far as the pill and abortion. It is a personal issue and no bodys business.

    December 10, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      They don't need consent to buy Midol. Or Monistat. Or any of hundreds of other OTC drugs. Your concern over 'consent' rings very hollow when it only applies to this one particular drug.

      December 11, 2011 at 7:58 am |
  10. gupsphoo

    I don't understand why some people get so emotional over this issue.

    If you don't want to take these pills, don't take it. Nobody is forcing you to.

    But don't try to force women who want them to go through wanted pregnancy.

    December 10, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • gupsphoo

      * unwanted pregnancy *

      December 10, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
  11. Snow

    question for fundies... How is the usage of any contraceptive methods different from arguments you make about abortion? Any such method is preventing god's will of a sperm meeting an egg, isn't it? That means, using a contraceptive is to prevent a life from beginning.. And if it were not for its usage, there would have been a full fledged human among us.

    Isn't that murder by prevention?

    December 10, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Luigi

      Abstinence also prevents human lives from being created.

      December 11, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • Piper

      no answer? ah well, thats answer itself..

      December 11, 2011 at 4:27 am |
  12. Reality

    Before the morning-after-pill:

    Cont-raceptive method use among U.S. women who practice con-traception, 2002 (From Guttmacher Inst-itute data)

    Method..... No. of users (in 000s)......................... % of users

    Pill....................... 11,661........................................ 30.6

    Male condom ........6,841........................................ 18.0 "

    As per Guttmacher data, the pill fails to protect women 8.7% during the first year of use . (Guttmacher data)

    i.e. 0.087 (failure rate)
    x 62 million (# child bearing women)
    x 0.62 ( % of these women using contraception )
    x 0.306 ( % of these using the pill) =

    1,020,000 unplanned pregnancies
    during the first year of pill use.

    For male condoms (failure rate of 17.4 and 18% use level)

    1,200,000 unplanned pregnancies during the first year of male condom use.

    The Gut-tmacher Inst-itute) notes also that the perfect use of the pill should result in a 0.3% failure rate
    (35,000 unplanned pregnancies) and for the male condom, a 2% failure rate (138,000 unplanned pregnancies).

    o Conclusion: The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.

    from the CDC-2006
    "Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."

    And from:

    "Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-

    Here's a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active "post-teeners": Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.

    "Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'"

    December 10, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • notphil

      Actually, according to the CDC,
      1) 1,500 women and 5,600 men who get HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancers (cancers of the back of throat including base of tongue and tonsils) [Note: Many of these cancers may also be related to tobacco and alcohol use.]
      2) About 27,700 new cases of oral cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2003.
      3) 50% of Americans get HPV at some point in their lives (it is possible to fight it off unlike HIV or Herpes).
      4) 20% of Americans smoke

      I will let you do the mental math on your own time, but long story short, your oral s-ex -> cancer argument = crap

      December 11, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • Reality


      Your debate is with the following expert in the field. Get back to us after she responds to your email:

      "Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'"

      December 11, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • Reality


      December 11, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  13. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    So... no response from the f*c kwit troll, Banana. The "13-year-old" she claims to have "counseled", who "didn't WANT an abortion" is nonexistent. The Monkey has never "counseled" anyone, 13 or 33. She's a phony, as I said.

    December 10, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Nor has she provided a reference to the statement she claims I made and that you challenged here on. And thanks for doing that.

      December 10, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  14. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    I wonder what happened to that 13-year-old child the Banana claims to have "counseled". I use the word "counseled" advisedly. I doubt the Banana is qualified as anything remotely resembling a "counselor". I'll bet the Banana will claim the baby turned out to be the Nobel Peace Prize recipient and the winner of the Gold Medal in Men's Figure Skating at the last Winter Olympics.

    December 10, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  15. Fuyuko

    Plan B... Is not abortion. Please read up about birth control and understand a bit more about it before speaking.

    December 10, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  16. Annabel

    The youngest I counseled was 13 and she didn't WANT an abortion!

    December 10, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • kiki


      December 10, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
  17. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    It's nice to see Keith writing under another name. At least he's getting some practice. Can't hurt.

    December 10, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • Keith

      BZZZZT, Wrong again, tammy. I've been gone for the last several hours. I'll leave the impersonations to you.

      December 10, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Still wandering the wilds of Tennessee, were you, dear?

      December 11, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  18. Annabel

    Again, mean, mean! You know you lose valididty when you show your true, angry, hateful self.

    December 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  19. Annabel

    I for one, LOVE science!

    December 10, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • kiki

      Huh. So you just don't understand it then?

      December 10, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
  20. Piper

    one simple question Anna, you do not know anything about the life of a woman who opts to have an abortion. what gives you right to make a decision for her? that she should not get it done?

    Also, should a woman who has an unfortunate miscarriage be charged with involuntary manslaughter? coz she caused the death of unborn fetus in her care? how far does your morality go?

    December 10, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I can answer that one. It goes about as far as her honesty and intelligence do. (Think inches, not miles.)

      December 10, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
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