Federal District Court Judge Edward Korman ruled this morning that the morning-after pill (or, so-called “emergency contraception”; hereafter, “EC”) must be made available over-the-counter with no age restrictions. This means that 16 year old girls (and boys) can now get the morning-after pill without a prescription. So can 15 year olds, and 14 year olds, and 13 year olds, and 12 year olds, etc., despite the fact that the age of consent in every state is between 16 and 18. To understand how outrageous Judge Korman’s decision is, consider that in December 2011, strongly “pro-choice” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius actually overruled a recommendation from the FDA to make the morning-after pill available OTC with no restrictions. This decision was truly extraordinary, as it was the first time ever that an HHS secretary had publicly overruled an FDA recommendation. It would be an understatement to say that we’re no fans of Kathleen Sebelius. She’s usually wrong, but this time, she actually got it right, and my boss, Pro-Life Action League Executive Director Eric Scheidler, said as much. Pro-aborts were livid. But even their favorite president wasn’t with them. Even Barack Obama—the most outspokenly “pro-choice” president in American history—supported Sebelius’ decision to prevent OTC sales of EC to kids. “As the father of two daughters,” Obama said at the time that Sebelius’ decision was one of “common sense”:
The reason Kathleen made this decision was she could not be confident that a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old going into a drugstore, should be able â€” alongside bubble gum or batteries â€” to buy a medication that potentially, if not used properly, could end up having an adverse effect. And I think most parents would probably feel the same way.
What Obama and Sebelius refused to do, a federal judge has now done.
No Good Will Come from This Decision
As for long-term effects of EC on women’s and girls’ bodies, we have precious little evidence. But we do know that the EC is significantly stronger than the regular birth control pill, which carries a whole host of negative side effects. We also know that despite the fact that there has been a huge increase in the number of women who have used EC over the last decade, even the Guttmacher Institute admits that “there’s no evidence” that EC has lowered the national rate of unintended pregnancy. In moments of honesty, even the biggest cheerleaders for EC will admit that the best that can be said of it is that it’s “better than nothing.” It would be dangerously naÃ¯ve to believe that making EC available to all teens and pre-teens will have any positive impact at all. On the other hand, it will now be even easier for young girlsâ€”and the older men who so often prey on themâ€”to engage in risky sexual behavior. A wedge will be driven yet further between parents and children, and will cut doctors out of the loop as well. All this is to say nothing of the abortion-causing potential of EC, which can kill an unborn child in the earliest days of life by preventing implantation in the motherâ€™s uterus. Many women and girls would not choose to use EC if they knew it can cause an early abortionâ€”but theyâ€™re far more likely to remain in the dark when they donâ€™t even need a prescription to get it. Nothing good—absolutely nothing good—will come out of Judge Korman’s decision.