The morning after the Obama administration halted plans to move Plan B emergency contraceptive pill onto drugstore shelves isn't looking any brighter for the president's re-election bid, according to political scientists.
While Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius decided young girls shouldn't have access to buy the pill on their own, women's health advocates--President Obama's largest Democratic base--and major doctor groups said they're shocked because over-the-counter sales would reduce unplanned pregnancies.
"I don't think 11-year-olds go into Rite Aid and buy anything, much less a single pill that costs about $50," American Academy of Pediatrics member Dr. Cora Breuner told the Associated Press.
In 2009, the FDA was criticized for letting politics, not science, drive its decision to put age restrictions on Plan B and a federal judge urged the agency to reconsider. At a New York federal court hearing next Tuesday, the Center for Reproductive Rights will argue the FDA should be held in contempt.
While conservatives are praising the decision, many democratic representatives believe the move will anger Democrats and even independents, who will play a critical role in the 2012 election.
"Secretary Sebelius took this action after careful review," Obama spokesman Nick Papas said to the AP. "As the secretary has stated, Plan B will remain available to all women who need it, and the president supports the secretary's decision."
Plan B can cut the chances of pregnancy by up to 89 percent for rape victims and women whose regular contraceptive failed. The pill doesn't work for women who are already pregnant, but some critics call Plan B an "abortion pill" because it could prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus.
Should Plan B be made available over the counter? Will it influence young children to have sex? Leave your opinion below with us.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)