Reagan appointee steps in where Obama fears to tread, strikes a blow for women’s health

Judge overrules Obama to protect women’s health
Crucial victory had to come from GOP-appointed judge — not cowardly Obama or Sebelius
By Irin Carmon

Today, a federal judge appointed by Ronald Reagan did for women’s health what the Obama administration was too politically cowardly to do: Make safe, time-sensitive emergency contraception available to everyone, regardless of age. The shameful thing is that it had to come to this.

The administration, said 2nd Circuit District Judge Edward Korman, acted in “bad faith” — a phrase that arises again and again in the stinging decision. And Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius acted in a fashion that “was politically motivated, scientifically unjustified, and contrary to agency precedent.”

Some context: Women under 17 have been required to obtain a prescription to get emergency contraception (the effectiveness of which diminishes with time), a jump through hoops that may prevent them from taking it at all — despite the fact that there is no medical reason to deny them the same access as older women. In other words, it’s about a short-sighted panic about teenage sex. These politicized rules began under George W. Bush’s FDA, which is when the Center for Reproductive Rights initially filed suit, but Barack Obama promised science would prevail in his administration. In December 2011, however, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius overruled the recommendations of the FDA for trumped-up reasons that Korman ridicules, line by line. The only reason that made sense: Fear that, in the impending election, hay would be made out of what the right falsely calls “the morning after pill” being given freely to young teens behind their parents’ backs.

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