Who Pays the Price for DC’s Morning-After Pill Decision? [Reader Forum]

Readers discuss the morning-after pill, ruled 'safer than aspirin' by the FDA but scandalized by the Obama administration.

By Channing Kennedy Dec 12, 2011

In the ongoing battle for reproductive rights, losses are to be expected. But that doesn’t mean it hurts any less when our powerful allies turn their backs on us. In her latest Gender Matters column, Akiba Solomon fills us in on how Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat serving a Democrat president, reversed the FDA’s decision to let a morning-after pill be sold over the counter. (Obama has since stated his support of Sebelius’ decision, invoking his status as a father of two daughters.)

The FDA says that Plan B is safer than aspirin — which, incidentally, is available over the counter. And beyond the identity politics of ‘good girls’ vs. everyone else, Plan B is designed to be exactly that: a backup plan that acknowledges that there is no failsafe plan A. Akiba lays out the added costs of Sebelius’ decision, financial and otherwise; once again, the group that’s going to pay it is young women of color, especially those without access to trustworthy free clinics.

The Colorlines.com community is none too impressed with the decision either. Here’s what you had to say.

Alice Bowron:

Obama is losing perspective. His daughters basically live in a palace at taxpayer expense; he & his whole family have excellent healthcare coverage, again at taxpayer expense. No wonder he’s getting that "ivory tower"/abstraction kind of ‘reasoning’ vs. REAL WORLD WISDOM. It’s not about how ‘good girls’ behave – or about what ‘should’ happen – it’s about helping the girls who fall through the cracks, who have no real backup, and whose lives will become a total mess if they don’t have early access to help keep them out of multiple childrearing before the age of 18. GET REAL PEOPLE.

Anna Gabrielle Viveros:

Has any one noticed that boys under the age of 17 don’t have to get parental consent to buy condoms? Another way that a patriarchal system is controlling women’s bodies and yet excuses men. :/

Jay Robert:

Gray Davis vetoed a law that would have made birth control coverage mandatory. His false excuse: It would hurt small business. Democrats are a fragile & fair weather friend of reproductive choice.


Currently, many adolescent girls under 17 don’t have health insurance. Minority girls have a higher rate of being uninsured. That means that these girls, who have only 3 days for Plan B to work, must not only raise $35-$50 for the pill, but also more money for a medical appointment so she can get a prescription. This will raise the cost too high for many under-age-17 girls to afford. Minority girls under age 17 will be disproportionately priced out of the Plan B option.


First off: girls under 17, we all know, are more than likely to be having sex. They better not be thinking how to raise $30 for a pill; save $25 and go and buy 4/$5 condoms. Better yet, if they don’t know let me inform the grown & the teens….Take your azz to the free clinic to get some free condoms & stay in school and get an education! For people to be upset about this issue is just silly, stupid, & moronic!

Emily Graff:

Condoms break sometimes, free or not.

Tate Jawdat:

Couldn’t agree with this article more. This decision hurts young women and especially young women of color. This was most definitely a political move – just as much as negotiating away funding for abortion in DC.

Each week, we round up the best comments in our community. Join the conversation here on Colorlines.com, and on Facebook and Twitter.