POLITICS: White House

White House keeps distance from FDA’s Plan B decision

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,White House,Joel Gehrke,Departments,Health Care

President Obama had nothing to do with the Federal Drug Administration’s decision to sell Plan B as an over-the-counter drug to women aged 15 and older, his spokesman told reporters.

“This is a decision that the FDA made and that is appropriate because it is an independent agency,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said when asked if Obama agreed with the decision. “The president, the White House, did not weigh in on this decision, and I have not had a discussion with the president on this issue.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had previously ruled that only women over 17 could purchase the drug, citing lack of information on the health risks of the pill on younger teens, a decision that Obama supported.

“I did not feel that the science supported [making the contraceptive readily available to] all ages, because there was a large missing piece of the puzzle,” Sebelius said in 2011, based on “significant cognitive and behavioral differences between older adolescent girls and the youngest girls of reproductive age.”

A federal judge in New York overturned the regulation as written by Sebelius, describing it as “politically motivated, scientifically unjustified and contrary to agency precedent.”

Carney indicated that Obama and Sebelius, when they set the age limit at 17, had feared that girls younger than 15 would purchase the pill.

 

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