‘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. 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 9, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  2. Anne Swanson

    Gupshoo, could you say the same thing to the millions of Women who have been aborted!?

    December 9, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • gupsphoo

      Strawman. We're not talking about forced abortion for every single pregancy. We're talking about giving women choice.

      December 9, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • J.W

      Use the reply button.

      December 9, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • fred

      Hey thanks that reply button works every time.

      December 9, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      When you see a woman who's being aborted, alert the media. She's definitely been in too long.

      December 9, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  3. Anne Swanson

    Hey, Planned Parenthood! Shut it! This is not for advertising!

    December 9, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Anne, you are advertising your (narrow) brand of family planning, why shouldn't your compet!tion have equal time?

      December 9, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • Mark

      Go pray to a god that doesn't exist, by yourself, and leave Planned Parenthood alone. They do a lot more good than any friggin' church ever did.

      December 10, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  4. gupsphoo

    I don't see how anyone can define a fertilized egg as "life". It's just a cluster of cells.

    The decision whether to have kids or not should be reserved to the women themselves, not the religious zealots.

    December 9, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Mark

      RELIGION POISONS EVERYTHING. Get these nuts out of government. TAX RELIGION and QUADRUPLE FUNDING for planned parenthood.

      Forcing a child into a RELIGION IS CHILD ABUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      December 10, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      It isn't even a cluster.

      December 11, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • TRH

      Be careful what you wish for. If you tax churches, then they really WILL have a say in how things are run. They are not taxed because there is a separation of church and state as intended by the founders. We are and were intended to be a secular republic. They used as their model of what NOT to do the mother country, which for centuries had been torn apart by religious intolerance and ignorance by the catholic church and later the church of England both of which were at one time or another state-mandated. Ever hear the term heretic? The first man to translate the bible from the Latin to English was burned at the stake.

      December 11, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
  5. Anne Swanson

    I wouldn't say blindly! Truth never contradicts itself and often takes humility and sacrifice to accept; and it often is the more difficult thing to do.

    December 9, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  6. Reality

    There are pills to increase libido, prevent pregnancies and to kill growing womb babies (RU-486). Since this is all about biology, there should be no reason that a temporary anti-libido pill could not be developed. Eliminate the desire, eliminate the problem!!

    No one is advocting that "anti-libido" pills be forced on anyone. Might there be another biochemical path besides the hormonal path to evaluate for said drug? Neuron pathways? Nerve pathways?

    And from the Planned Parenthood website:

    "The Abortion Pill (RU-486) at a Glance (This is NOT the morning after pill)

    Take medicines to end an early pregnancy
    Safe and effective
    Available from many Planned Parenthood health centers
    Costs about $300–$800"

    December 9, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • Francie

      They used to call that "saltpeter"...

      December 11, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
  7. George

    This is really about people wanting to sin and not have any consequences. They want no restraints on their s.e.xual immorality. The only thing that matters to them is that it feels good. They don't like the fact that the natural consequence of s.e.xual intercourse is pregnancy in people who are not infertile.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Guess what, George? S3x outside of marriage isn't illegal. If you think it's immoral, that's up to you. You don't get to tell others that they must live according to your view of morality when their actions do not infringe on the rights of others.

      No one is required to suffer the consequences of unplanned s3x just because you think it's wrong for them to engage in it.

      December 9, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Fuyuko

      And not long ago, it was a sin to show your ankle in public, uncover your hair, or marry outside your race. IT is funny what things are considered sinful seem to to entirely depend on your personal view. I think if you need plan b, fretting about the sinfulness of the act is a little late.

      December 10, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Mark

      You are the immoral (and judgemental and brainwashed) one here. THERE ARE 7 BILLION PEOPLE ON THE PLANET. I guess you believe you'll go to "heaven" for being so moral............so to HELL with the future of the planet that you want to bring these kids into. You can "look down from heaven" and see the starvation, wars over water, and destruction of natural resources that's ahead. ENJOY YOUR DELUSION. (Read "The god delusion by Richard Dawkins if you ever get an intellect.

      December 10, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • TRH

      Makes a lot of sense....had it been written by a 15th Century cleric.

      December 11, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
  8. Anne Swanson

    Well, obviously, Cyrus; but you're DNA is the same as it was at conception. And if I loose my cognitive abilities, then I'm no longer human?! NICE! And yes I do know what Russian Roulette is! Taking a chance with life which is exactly what Plan B does! Conception may have occurred!

    December 9, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Wow. I'm so impressed. Here's someone who's unable to write beyond the level of a 5th grader attempting to dictate to others what is right and wrong, when what others do does not infringe on anyone else's rights.

      It is to laugh. Fundies are almost invariably ignorant.

      December 9, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      "you're[sic] DNA is the same as it was at conception". No. No, it isn't. If you're going to appeal to science, then take the time to actually learn it.

      December 11, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  9. Anne Swanson

    If you really think eating meat and killing people are on the same plain, with all due respect, you need help!

    December 9, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If you think the word is "plain", you're the one in trouble.

      December 9, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Paul Ronco

      Buddhists and Hindus both consider them to be of the Hell realms, but yes, killing someone is much worse than eating meat.

      December 10, 2011 at 3:22 am |
  10. Anne Swanson

    The supreme court does not make the laws, it upholds them; and I hope a case will be brought before them that will enable them to protect life in the womb! And since when are the laws of the land always impeccable!?!? Laws should defend the natural order; but don't always! Let's not forget that what Hitler did was completely "lawful" and was not "illegal"! He was obviously an evil man that ,blindly, people follwed!

    December 9, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Snow

      Good analogy Anne, People are sheep.. they follow anything when someone says says it with enough conviction(even if they put them there).. Just like how Christians blindly believe the things they are told..

      December 9, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I'm not suggesting that laws are impeccable! I am suggesting that those responsible for creating immoral laws or for not striking down immoral laws should be held accountable. You can can hold elected officials accountable by not re-electing them. The same cannot be said for US Supreme Court Justices – there is no way to remove them (before the age at which they must retire). I'm suggesting that if a justice allows an immoral law (one that violates the justice's cult's rules), the cult should excommunicate (or whatever each cult's equivalent punishment is) them. That would send a very strong message to all. Why don't the various cults hold their members accountable?

      December 9, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Erianna

      Heres the thing Anne, My womb is not your business. You do not get to control my body or anyone elses. In Certain tribes in africa they take their twins or babies with deformities and throw them in the river when born due to their Relgious and cultural beliefs. Now that is absolutly horrible... No matter what someone was to tell these people would not matter, its deeply rooted in their heritage and supersticous beliefs. Just like you will not change your mind anout your abortion or birth control beliefs, Neither will I. I will however, not try top FORCE you to take birth control like you would try to FORCE me not to. You have to realize people treat life differently. I do not believe life begins at connception, I believe it a sac of cells. My very Christian husband and I have on more than one occasion used plan B when our birth control failed. Its not someone elses business or right to FORCE me to have a baby. If its ultimatly so wrong.... God will judge everyone... NOT YOU.

      By the way more people are in favor of a womens right to choose... so why should the government overthrow the will of the majority to please one group??

      December 9, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • JKYC

      Anne, you are one of the most ignorant fools I have had to pleasure to read. Hitler did break laws. Even in war, there are "crimes against humanity." Please Anne, go to school. Get educated. Don't just rely on your religion to teach you all there is to know of the world. You are highly ignorant and your do not know simple grammar or spelling either. You need education. Please get it.

      December 10, 2011 at 8:25 am |
    • SixDegrees

      This is why fundamentalist Christians are so very, very dangerous – they are willing to toss aside the rule of law and all of civilization in favor of their own zealotry. It's why Rome – an otherwise religiously tolerant society – found it necessary to feed them to the lions: they are an existential threat to civil order wherever they are given even marginal power. And they are as fundamentally anti-American as it is possible to be, posing a greater threat even than their ideological brethren, the Taliban.

      December 11, 2011 at 9:30 am |
  11. Anne Swanson

    But Brent, where is this logic from?! Nothing comes from nothing!

    December 9, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • Brent

      Sorry, Anne. I don't feel like giving you a crash course in both the history of philosophy and science studies. Those are extensive fields which would take entirely too much time to cover in a simple comment on CNN. Why don't you just take my word for it, like we're supposed to take your word for it that God disapproves of Plan B, despite the fact that the Bible was written well over 1,500 years before it was even conceived? (LOL, that was a pun!)

      December 9, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
  12. Anne Swanson

    Life begins at conception!! The newly created being has its own, seperate DNA at conception! It is no longer the mother's own DNA!! I love how liberals can play russian roulette with "when life begins". And the last time I checked, the FDA is NOT infallible!! Think of all the recalls!! Let's ere on the side of life always!

    December 9, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Anne, I assume this is a reply to my question to you below. If yes, you might want to check out the "Reply" link.

      Anyway, as far as I'm concerned/know, the question of when life begins is "settled" in Canada and the USA. Your US Supreme Court justices are all believers – there's not a single atheist among them. If you are unhappy with their decisions, I suggest you pet!tion their cult's leaders to excommunicate them. I can't think of a stronger message to the folks that ultimately decided this question.

      December 9, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Snow

      I love it when people argue about how life is precious and need to be protected from the second of conception but go home and binge on their beef casseroles and Chicken drumsticks.. What, only human life is precious but lives of animals not? if you have respect for life, it extends to all creations that hold life.. no hypocrisy..

      Just when you seemed different from others Anne, you had to go ahead and ruin it!!

      December 9, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • George


      It's called Human Exceptionalism. You might want want to read up on it.

      December 9, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Cyrus

      I understand what you are trying to say, but it has nothing to do with being a liberal. First of all, DNA does not create itself from no where, and at conception, the DNA does not split away. It "borrows" from the mother's (and father's) DNA to form the complex protein. Hence the XX, XY, YY, and YX.

      Secondly, the definition of life, especially pertaining to human life, is about cognitive abilities. A cell cannot "feel", no matter how you romanticize it. Besides, I don't think you quite understand the meaning of "Russian Roulette".

      December 9, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • George

      "the definition of life, especially pertaining to human life, is about cognitive abilities."

      Only a liberal would define life in those terms. There is no length to which supporters of abortion will not go to redefine life.

      December 9, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Erianna

      I love How conservatives can act as if they KNOW something to be fact when not ONE single human knows that life begins at conception or not. I repeat NO ONE knows. You have an opinion and thats it.... I am sorry but your opinion is not truth... neither is mine. So quick playing Russian Roulette with the truth already ANNA

      December 9, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Says who? YOu? Your say-so doesn't matter. What DOES matter is the Const it ution and the rights it guarantees me and everyone else to have control of our own bodies and lives. Unless it has an impact on someone else's rights, it's not your business what a woman does about her pregnancy.

      And no, Anne, fetuses don't have rights.

      December 9, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • JKYC

      Anne, would you like to be forced to be a Musim? How about a Jew? How about an atheist? DO NOT FORCE YOUR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS on other people. I am a Christian and have a very good relationship with God. However, my religion (Episcopalian) does not believe life begins at conception. You take the zygote and remove it from the host, the zygote isn't "alive." Even if you think it is after the cells stop replicating, it isn't alive. Even if you STILL think it is, your religion IS NOT MINE. Get it? Good!

      December 10, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • Fuyuko

      Its not up to you decide for others though. You can feel as you please but not everyone does so.

      December 10, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Precisely the same argument can be made for many parasites, bacteria and viruses. What's your point?

      December 11, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • SixDegrees

      The same can be said, Anne, of what comes out of your mouth if you spit instead of swallow.

      December 11, 2011 at 9:43 am |
  13. Cynthia C

    Women's rights is a hot topic for me. That said, I totally agree with the age limit and the need for young women to seek support at say.... PLANNED PARENTHOOD! As long as Plan B can remain a plan and we have resources for our youth and really women of all ages then I am happy.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Fuyuko

      The age limit is too high, and frankly, there is nothing to prevent a girl's buddy who IS 17 to get it for her. This is really nothing more than an artificial obstacle.

      December 10, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  14. George

    Pray for our young people so that they are delivered from temptation.

    December 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • JKYC

      George, get some education. You don't want abortion, don't have one. Don't force your wife to have one. Leave me out of your weird decisions. I'll leave you out of mine. Thanks.

      December 10, 2011 at 8:35 am |
  15. Anne Swanson

    just because we Christians believe in right and wrong doesn't mean we don't fall sometimes!! That is so ridiculous!! You can't not believe in something because you might fail at it sometimes!! Relationships wouldn't last a day if that was the standard. We ALL have to admit failure sometimes. It doesn't mean we have to stop TRYING to do the right thing!

    December 9, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Snow

      That is a Christian's argument I agree with..

      @George, try learning from Anne how to talk and present an argument

      December 9, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Erianna

      Man I though you were a rational person when I read this comment but you went and proved me wrong! You George and Kenny need to get together. George can be the Uterus Hitler and you and kenny could be his loyal soilders!

      December 9, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  16. Snow

    "10 and 11 yr girls going to drugstore to buy bubblegum and planB"? What the heck???

    December 9, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Emmy

      Yeah, right: 11-year-olds picking up $70 plan b to go along with their $0.70 bubble gum??

      December 9, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  17. Anne Swanson

    Hey HotAirAce, we believe that the one job government should do is to protect all people's lives(life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,..right?)!This is an area where the most innocent among us need to be protected by the laws of government!

    December 9, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Sorry, Anne, I must confess that I do not understand the context of your comment. I don't think I advocated that government not do what you are suggesting...

      December 9, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Whitney

      Hey Anne Swanson: which of those (life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness) is this protecting? Last I checked, Plan B is in no way dangerous to the lives of anyone who chooses to take it. If that were the case, I doubt the FDA would allow it to be sold over the counter.

      December 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • George


      It kills the feritlized egg which otherwise would implant and develop into a baby.

      December 9, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Cyrus

      I think she meant (your) life, (your) liberty, and (your) pursuit of happiness. 🙂 I love how the moral police always talks about these values, but when it comes to affording the same values to others, they fall flat.

      December 9, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You don't even understand how the morning after pill works, George.

      December 9, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  18. Dan5404

    I think it is a well thought out decision that younger girls often don't have the judgement or knowledge to take medicines correctly. It may matchsomeone's political position, but it is not political, it's just the right thing to do.

    December 9, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Funny how you have never, ever raised a single objection to any of the hundreds of other OTC drugs that are readily available. Why haven't you crusaded against the ready availability of Midol? Or Monistat? Or Nyquil? None of them are mentioned in the Bible, either, so they must be of Satan as I understand it. You're slacking in your faith, brother. Not to mention that your whole argument falls apart as a result of singling out this one particular drug and no others.

      December 11, 2011 at 9:25 am |
  19. coreoveride

    seriously stop using the terms "pro-life and pro-choice" its dishonest. Everyone is both pro-life and pro-choice, its abortion you are for or against. so long as the discussion is kept dishonest there will be no progress, so grow up and use the proper terms.

    December 9, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Cyrus

      You can thank the neo-cons for that.

      December 9, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  20. Sam Yaza

    Even I por choice like me says yeah under 17 you should doctors note,.. now we just need to work on the senate denying women serving in the military, who were r_ped, abortion coverage. But this I a good decision, not because it protect the fetus but because it protect the woman.

    December 9, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.