The Obama administration is accepting a federal judge's ruling to remove all age restrictions for girls seeking to obtain the so-called "Plan B" morning after pill.
The Family Research Council warns the health of young girls is at risk as a result of the administration's decision to back down.
Until this year, girls younger than 17 could not purchase Plan B on their own. Federal judge Edward Korman ruled in April that no age requirements should be in effect. The administration appealed that ruling at the time. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius subsequently lowered the minimum age to 15. Now the administration is allowing Judge Korman's ruling to stand.
"The Obama administration is really caving into political pressure and putting those politics ahead of the health and safety of young girls and the rights of parents," said Anna Higgins, director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council.
So where did the pressure come from?
"First of all, Judge Korman put a lot of pressure on Secretary Sebelius in his April decision. He basically gave her a scathing review saying she was politically motivated but really offered no hard evidence to prove that," Higgins told WND. "In addition to Judge Korman's decision, you have quite a few reproductive rights groups who are very supportive of the president pushing for this access over and over for years. I think they finally got to the point where they didn't want to fight this anymore."
Higgins said this ruling will have consequences in multiple ways. She said making it simple for kids to keep their parents in the dark on an issue like this is a recipe for disaster, and supporters of this decision have no good answers for why this is a good idea.
"(Pro-choice groups) really have glossed over the issue. I think it's something that's not been sufficiently addressed. They say that they are going to encourage parents to talk to teens. Well, teens are going to have absolutely no motivation to talk to parents about this if they don't need to," Higgins said. "They have to have their parents' permission to obtain an aspirin at their school, yet we're going to allow them unfettered access to high dose contraceptives that are associated with premature sexual behavior. Not only will parents not have a say in a health decision affecting their child, they're also not going to have a say in, perhaps, the sexual behavior or decisions affecting the sexual behavior of their teens."
So what impact could unsupervised use of Plan B have on the health of young girls? Higgins said the answer ranges from uncertainty to substantial risk.
"No one knows what effects taking this high dose of hormones have on girls during puberty. There have been no studies on the effects of Plan B on these young girls, so we don't know what it's going to do to their bodies," said Higgins, who noted that a 2011 study in Britain discovered loosening Plan B restrictions resulted in a higher rate of sexually transmitted diseases in young girls.
"Additionally, over-the-counter sales encourage repeat usage of the drug, which is not safe. And there's no clear indication that young girls understand this is a one-dose use requirement," she said.
Higgins said other problems emerge as the law tacitly encourages sexual activity among the very young.
"We have young girls who are most at risk for contracting sexually transmitted diseases or being sexually abused, who are going to be bypassing necessary medical screenings and guidance from parents that could detect these kinds of issues," she said.