Democratic Sen. Patty Murray today criticized the Obama administration for blocking a plan to make emergency contraceptives more widely available.
“We need to leave decisions about patient protections up to the experts,” the Washington state senator said. “No one should come between women and the experts that are charged with making impartial, non-political decisions about the safety of the drugs they use.”
Murray made her statement after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the Food and Drug Administration’s decision that the contraceptives be sold over the counter, including to teenagers 16 years old and younger.
The pill is called Plan B One-Step. It has been available without a prescription to women 17 and older, while those 16 and younger need a prescription. That will continue under Sebelius’ ruling. She has the authority to overrule the FDA.
Murray has led efforts since 2003 to make the emergency pill available to women. “I’m very disappointed that Secretary Sebelius has chosen to override the careful scientific analysis of the FDA by blocking further access
to emergency contraception,” Murray said.
“When it comes to the reproductive health of women, I’ve consistently said that we need to put science and medical evidence first. In this case, both the FDA and the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research did careful analysis and determined that Plan B is safe and effective for over-the-counter use by more women.”