The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

A Political Battle Trampling on Women’s Bodies

Dec 12, 2011

For the first time ever, an appointed head of the Department of Health and Human Services overruled the scientists in the Food and Drug Administration. In this case, she refused to allow emergency contraceptives to be sold over the counter to teenagers.

Even the media reports understood this decision was about next year’s election – not about drug safety, as Obama’s appointee cynically claimed. By making the decision against selling the over-the-counter Plan B One-Step, the department’s secretary, Kathleen Sibelius, endangers young women who have sex without any contraceptive protection and are therefore at risk of becoming pregnant. This pill has been shown to cut the risk of such pregnancies in half. It has already proven its safety and value to the thousands who have used it.

The women who were put at particular risk by this decision are teenagers, who must now have parental consent to get a prescription or procedure to terminate a pregnancy. In other words, by the time they go through that, it will be too late for this “morning after” pill.

How many teenagers will be condemned to pregnancy at too young an age? In exchange for how many votes Obama secured for himself from reactionaries?