Get Your Politics Out of My Birth Control

NOTE: This is a guest blog post by Chris Iseli, Director of Communications at the Center for Reproductive Rights.

You’ve been reading about birth control in the news over the last few days as a full-scale political drama unfolded with speed and fury. At the end of the day, the news is good: All women will be able to get regular birth control without a co-pay of any kind.

This is huge. It puts family planning within reach of all. And it came about because of sound scientific evidence that proved contraception has an enormous impact on womenís health.

Yet even as women take satisfaction in this giant leap forward, they should know they are being denied on a separate but related front.

In December, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, ignored conclusive scientific research when she overruled the Food and Drug Administrationís recommendation to make emergency contraception, commonly known as the morning-after pill, available over the counter without restriction.

This week, the Center for Reproductive Rights asked a federal court to reopen our lawsuit against the FDA and put an end to these unnecessary, baseless restrictions and an end to playing politics with women’s health. And because Sebelius’s decision is the subject of the litigation, we’re also asking the court to add her as a defendant.

The Center has been battling the FDA for more than a decade. Political pressure led the agency to ignore the evidence and refuse are attempts at liberating this medication from a bureaucratic stranglehold. But we convinced a federal judge of the medication’s safety and value and have secured greater–but not total–access.

A wide body of research indicates that emergency contraception is as safe as aspirin and cold medicines. There’s no reason Plan B and similar emergency contraceptives shouldn’t be sitting in the same aisle, where all who need it can easily get it.

The FDA has plenty of science proving the safety of emergency contraception. That’s exactly why the agency’s scientists have repeatedly recommended its unrestricted availability to women of all ages. But in an astonishing, unprecedented move, Secretary Sebelius–a political appointee–overruled this entire body of evidence.

As a result, an important healthcare technology is kept beyond the reach of many women who need it.

President Obama wasted little time after taking office in publicly declaring his support for evidence-based decision making:

“Science and the scientific process must inform and guide decisions of my Administration…. The public must be able to trust the science and scientific process informing public policy decisions.”

Now, it’s time for Sec. Sebelius to make good on the promise that the president has made–to stop putting political concerns ahead of science and bring emergency contraception out from behind the pharmacy counter once and for all.

Photo via Thinkstock


Teresa B.
Teresa Bliss7 years ago

Sometimes when reading the anti women discourse from the (mostly) male american right I have to remind myself that this is coming from middle class white males rather than male muslim fundamentalists who want no power to go to women. The American right seems to have more in common with the Islam fundamentalists than they realise and it is all about suppressing women.

Lynne Brittany
Lynne B7 years ago

The world is already overpopulated, if birth control becomes difficult to get the world will starve. Sensible people will find ways not to have children but the feckless will keep on producing. After all the consequences are not their problem right.

Frances C.
Frances C7 years ago

Ira L. You nailed that one. Giant Hypocrites. Yes, those 'holier than thou' Republican religious zealots are obsessed with sex. And it's making us women very angry. We just want to live our lives without Republican 'big government' interference.

Melissa Cadle
Melissa Cadle7 years ago

Birth control is a woman's choice--it's shouldn't be up for debate if we have a choice.... I just don't understand it!!!!

I Care For The World

4:25AM PST on Feb 21, 2012

The Teenager Had Just Been Rescued From Weeks of Imprisonment and Torture at the Hands of Her Husband's Family.



Her family to pay a debt but she refused to become a prostitute to bring in more money. She was cut, burned with cigarettes, beaten to a pulp and many of her fingernails were ripped out. She was barely alive when police found her.

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal7 years ago

Unwanted pregnancy? Sooner or later you become part of the village that raises tht child...

Susan M.
Susan Meade7 years ago

It was a ridiculous sight to see on TV, a commentator talking to a group of men, I believe conservatives and/or Republicans, about the birth control issue. Like we need or want men making these decisions for women, speaking for women. Give me a break! Do they think we are incapable of making our own decisions about our bodies and our families? Incapable of expressing our own reasons and feelings about this? The conservatives are completely out of touch with reality. Concern yourself with what is going on in your own bedroom and your own family, and stay away from mine... Perhaps we women should start making legislation pertaining to mens' penises -- let's put you all on birth control for men, or have you all snipped, and enforce it with jail sentences, and make you pay for it all. How would you like that?

Marie W.
Marie W7 years ago

GOP wants smaller government- oh they forgot to tell you a 'woman' monitor will be in every house to make sure females are following the rules..

Frances C.
Frances C7 years ago

Ira L. and Jason E., And thanks, Sharon. It is so good to read sensible, factual writings from people who have common sense and common decency. After reading the most ignorant vile statements and President bashing from the right wing nuts, your posts give me hope.

But wait! I just heard Santorum saying on my TV... You have to accept the Gift of Rape that God has given to you. Yeah, can I just have a box of candy instead. Santorum you truly are an idiot.

Dear God, will you please give the nomination to Santorum so he can run against President Obama in the general election. Obama will win and we will have a Democratic House and Senate. Please, please, please, pretty please.

Jason E.
Jason E.7 years ago

The most rediculous debate happening in the US right now. This is 2012 and Birth Control is seriously an issue? The world is looking at the US right now wondering who are these imbeciles? Is this a joke? I feel frustrated and sad as your Canadian neighbour that you have to put up with such discourse within your country from your so called "leadership" absolute embarrassment. The crazy thing is that President Obama and his staff had to spend time figuring out how to make sure people get their birth control covered by insurance when he could be spending time working on real issues like getting people back to work. Unreal...