Fourteen Senators Are Mad As Hell

Okay, they're not mad as hell; they are Democrats, after all. (And one Independent.) But they're definitely at least mildly displeased with the HHS' absurd decision regarding Plan B and with President Obama's support of that decision, so they have written a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, requesting a scientific explanation for her decision:
Dear Secretary Sebelius,

We are writing to express our disappointment with your December 7, 2011 decision to block the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) recommendation to make Plan B One-Step available over-the-counter. We feel strongly that FDA regulations should be based on science. We write to you today to ask that you provide us with the rationale for this decision.

As numerous medical societies and patient advocates have argued, improved access to birth control, including emergency contraception, has been proven to reduce unintended pregnancies. Nearly half of all pregnancies that occur in the United States each year are unintended. Keeping Plan B behind the counter makes it harder for all women to obtain a safe and effective product they may need to prevent an unintended pregnancy.

We ask that you share with us your specific rationale and the scientific data you relied on for the decision to overrule the FDA recommendation. On behalf of the millions of women we represent, we want to be assured that this and future decisions affecting women's health will be based on medical and scientific evidence.
The letter is signed by Democratic Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell of Washington, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Barbara Boxer (CA), Richard Blumenthal (CT), Daniel Akaka (HA), Carl Levin (MI), John Kerry (MA), Tom Harkin (IA), Al Franken (MN), and Frank Lautenberg (NJ). Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is an Independent and caucuses with Senate Democrats, was the fourteenth signatory.

Greg Sargent quite rightly notes that the letter "is strongly worded stuff, particularly when directed at a Democratic president. It stops just short of accusing the Obama administration of deliberately ignoring science in making this decision. It also puts the administration in an awkward spot. Either it produces a scientific rationale that's acceptable to these Senators, which will will be extremely difficult at best, or it will face more criticism for failing to justify its policy, reinforcing the sense that this Democratic administration abandoned science and put politics first."

This is the last thing the President needs in an election year—which is something he should have thought of before throwing women and trans men under the bus. Again.

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