One of the rare issues on which President Obama has agreed with conservative critics is restricting the availability of emergency contraception to women 17 and older. “As the father of two daughters, 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,” he said in 2011 in the lead-up to the 2012 election.
Ever since, his Administration has tried to defend the ban in the courts. But in April US District Judge Edward Korman ruled that the drug should be readily available for all ages and described the US Food and Drug Administration’s stand as “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable” and politically motivated.
This week the Administration abandoned the fight. The morning-after contraceptive pill will now be sold as freely as headache tablets. “This decision by the administration affirms what feminists have been fighting for all along – the morning-after pill should be available to females of all ages, on the shelf at any convenience store,” said Annie Tummino, of the National Women’s Liberation group.
The President’s erstwhile allies were disappointed. Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest told the Washington Post. “There are so many reasons to maintain some measure of control over the distribution of such a strong drug, particularly to young women. I see this as a really, really terrible development. . . . I just think it’s very troubling and sets a really bad standard.”
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