After several court battles, the Obama administration and the Department of Health and Human Services has dropped their opposition to imposing age limits on emergency contraception, aka Plan B.
The government’s decision means that any woman or girl will soon be able to walk into a drugstore and buy the pill, Plan B One-Step, without a prescription.
The Justice Department had been fighting to prevent that outcome, but said late Monday afternoon that it would accept its losses in recent court rulings and begin putting into effect a judge’s order to have the Food and Drug Administration certify the drug for nonprescription use. In a letter to Judge Edward R. Korman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, the administration said it would comply with his demands.
The Justice Department appears to have concluded that it might lose its case with the appeals court and would have to decide whether to appeal to the Supreme Court. That would drastically elevate the debate over the politically delicate issue for Mr. Obama.
I think Booman is on to something: President Obama was really in favor of letting anyone have access to Plan B, but he knew that if he said he supported it, that would galvanize the opposition simply because he’s in favor of it. He also knew that it would infuriate his base among pro-choice voters. But he also knew that if he put up a fight and then gave up after making an adequate attempt, he would have cover on an issue that could have been used against Democrats in the mid-terms. Got it?
It’s exasperating, but that’s how the game is played. The worst part of it is that time, money, and political capital was wasted on a fight that was fixed from the start.