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It was probably obvious yesterday that we earnestly thought the FDA might finally turn around a longtime decision, one largely against all advice, information and recommendations from sexual, reproductive and adolescent health and rights experts and advocates, when it came to unfounded restrictions long put on teen access to Plan B.
And that was going to actually happen. The FDA was on board this time around and made the decision to ditch those restrictions. People under 17 were finally going to have the same kind of access to a safe, important kind of contraception those over 17 had, a kind of access there is simply no sound reason to restrict.
In what Jodi Jacobson of RH Reality Check so rightfully said can, "only be called an astounding move by an Administration that pledged on inauguration day that medical and health decisions would be based on fact not ideology and for which women are a major constituency, today Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) overruled a much-awaited decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make emergency contraception (EC) available over-the-counter (OTC) to women of all ages."
I don't think we can express enough how tremendously and deeply frustrated and infuriated we are here that our optimism was in vain and was so outrageously gutted.
If you're like many of our readers and Facebook fans, reading those things will leave you feeling just as angry as we feel about it, if not more so.
It's so tremendously important your frustrations and opposition be heard (perhaps particularly by an administration which rallied youth for their support in getting elected and were so greatly benefitted when young people stood up for them).
It's so tremendously important that your requests for rights like these be heard. And that the incredibly sound, sage things you say like this from reader Arai, "These politicians really need to get on the same CENTURY as the one young people live. All the questioning for contraceptives, abortion rights, gay marriage are real in today's society," or this from reader Katrina, "Politicians on both sides of the aisle reach unheard of levels of cluelessness when it comes to youth reproductive rights and needs," are heard and seen. It is, of course just as important that they are also very thoughtfully and with great intention considered in choices like this, but we can't help much with that part, save continuing to say things like that and continuing to be ardent supporters of youth rights, including reproductive rights.
But what we can certainly help with is to provide at least one place where you can speak your mind about this and be seen and heard, and then take those comments and get more eyes on them from there.
Please leave your comments here about this decision if you are unhappy with it. Please pitch in to help add your voice to other youth voices about this issue if you want to do one of the most basic things you can, the most important things you can, to work towards a different, better, fairer, outcome.
Like we told one of our readers today when she asked why young people should have to ask, beg even, for rights you should have in the first place, the only answer we have is that you shouldn't. But just like other groups have had to voice a strong desire for rights they never should have -- like women and people of color seeking the right to vote, people of color seeking the same essential useful rights white people had, LGBT people asking for the same rights, freedoms and protections cisgender or straight people have -- you've got to keep doing the same with rights like this if you want them.
You shouldn't have to: you absolutely shouldn't have to. But, for now, you do.
Speak your mind: we want to hear you and other people, including this administration -- whether you're a citizen or not -- need to start hearing you. And listening.
P.S.: Would you rather blog about it in a different place? If you do, leave a link!
P.P.S.: The Change.org petition in protest of Secretary Sebelius' action is here.