In a "huge breakthrough" for women and girls across the country, the Obama administration will lift the age-restrictive ban on emergency contraception, allowing slightly-limited access to the birth control method known as the morning-after pill.
Women's groups who have been working against the age-restrictive ban are excited but hesitant to celebrate due to the FDA's request that the maker of Plan B One-Step must submit a new request for over-the-counter approval. President of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards did comment that “this is a huge breakthrough for access to birth control and a historic moment for women’s health and equity.”
Annie Tummino of the National Women's Liberation noted "it’s about time that the administration stopped opposing women having access to safe and effective birth control.”
~ from 'It's About Time': Obama Sanctioned Ban on Plan B Lifted by Lucia Brown ~
It seems odd to me that, after fighting to restrict Plan B for some time, President Obama chose this moment to drop his objections. I have a theory as to why this has occurred.
Right now, the Obama administration is being assailed from a multitude of sides about what I will call spygate. Much of the American electorate is upset. Some members of Congress are peeved too. Many of our staunchest allies have made strong statements in the press of their grave displeasure. Obama is no different than any 2nd term President -- the last thing he wants is to have his legacy tarnished and spygate potentially might do just that.
What Team Obama wants more than anything else is to divert everyone's attention from this mushrooming brouhaha. If they can push this major controversy off the front pages, then maybe Obama can save the image of his presidency.
In a calculated gamble, he decided to act on an issue that is sure to generate different reactions from two important groups: his base of supporters and the opposition.
Obama needs all the friends he can get right now, so he decided to throw his ardent supporters a bone. Even though his preference was to keep restrictions in place for Plan B, by dropping those objections, he is hoping this will be enough for his supporters to have his back.
By the same token, he knows that dropping those objections will inflame the opposition. Over at Fox News, they are beside themselves. Many of their leading pundits have condemned this action and I'm confident that Obama hopes this move will shift their focus away from privacy issues.
Don't get me wrong. I favor the lifting of these restrictions, it's just that I think it's a crass political move, one born of desperation. Needless to say, I hope this strategy blows up in his face and the pressure re spygate does not let up!