And the push-back begins.
You may recall that Obama's FDA, in internal deliberations, recommended removing age restrictions on over-the-counter birth control — so-called "Plan B One-Step" — but Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, to whom the FDA reports, rejected the recommendation of the FDA scientists.
This caused a huge outcry among women's rights groups, both on the merits (the arguments didn't make sense) and because of Obama's campaign promises not to overrule regulatory scientists on political grounds, as Bush II had done.
Plan B approval has been a political football since the Bush years. One of the reasons for the decision in the first place is a 2009 court order. (More Bush II–era background summary here.)
And that's were we are today, with Sebelius rejecting the recommendation of FDA scientists, women's rights advocates up in arms, Obama in re-election mode, and a court order that, in part, caused the reconsideration in the first place.
So it's back to the courts, in this case to federal judge Edward Korman in Brooklyn, with whom the 2009 complaint was filed. In a move that cheered women's rights advocates, Judge Korman did two things (my emphasis):
A federal judge Tuesday rejected a request to hold the Food and Drug Administration in contempt of court over its policy on the emergency contraceptive Plan B but said he would consider reviewing the government’s refusal to make it easier for girls and women to get the drug.Rejecting the request to hold the FDA in contempt of court is small potatoes compared to the suggestion that he would put Sebelius's (and, one must assume, Obama's) decision under court review:
Korman said he was willing to hear arguments over whether the agency should have allowed the sale of the morning-after pill to girls younger than 17 without a prescription, and he instructed advocacy groups to file the appropriate legal motions. Korman specifically suggested adding Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to the lawsuit.There's much good information in the article; it's well researched and written.
I'm looking forward to the decision; I hope it comes before Mr. Obama opens the 2012 package he hopes will contain his $1 billion electoral pony.
Which is, of course, the other half of this story, that nagging sense of "betrayal" that Obama expects his base to roll with as they enter the voting booth.
Let's see how they roll.