Morning After Pill Remains a Political Football

| Wed Dec. 7, 2011 3:26 PM EST

The FDA's scientists have (once again) concluded that Plan B, the "morning after" pill, is safe for unrestricted sale over the counter. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has apparently decided that it would be politically unwise to allow this with an election coming up:

“I agree ... there is adequate and reasonable, well-supported, and science-based evidence that Plan B One-Step is safe and effective and should be approved for nonprescription use for all females of child-bearing potential,” [FDA Administrator Margaret Hamburg ] said.

“However, this morning I received a memorandum from the Secretary of Health and Human Services invoking her authority under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to execute its provisions and stating that she does not agree with the Agency’s decision to allow the marketing of Plan B One-Step nonprescription for all females of child-bearing potential,” she said.

This is the first time an HHS secretary has ever overruled the FDA, and it's a blow to those of us who believe that Democratic administrations are more willing to be guided by scientific evidence than Republican ones. I guess somebody somewhere decided that independent voters might not approve of this, so now it's back to the salt mines.