To B or Not to B...
If there's one thing the Obama administration has mastered, it's walking out on their responsibilities in court. Yesterday, the Justice Department sent its Plan B appeal to the same dust heap as its DOMA defense, telling reporters that it would give up its legal campaign after a couple of recent setbacks. The administration's policy, which for two years had been the only thing standing between little girls and a powerful birth control drug, is now a thing of the past, as Health and Human Services (HHS) officially bows out of the battle so many parents willed it to keep fighting. The sudden surrender by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius means that the controversial and potent morning-after pill will be available to anyone -- of any age -- without a prescription.
Before Monday, the administration took a lot of heat for pitting itself against the President's closest allies -- radical feminists and abortion groups who object to even the slightest restrictions on "contraception." In a letter to U.S. District Judge Edward Korman, who authored the scathing ruling against Sebelius's policy, the government's attorneys promised to step aside and allow unlimited sales. As soon as the manufacturers submit a new drug application, the FDA promises to fast-track the pills to drugstore shelves.
Initially, the DOJ had asked Korman to suspend his ruling until an appeals court could weigh in -- which it did last week. And although the judges' decision was an obstacle, there were plenty of legal options to overcome it. Instead, the President dropped the case -- along with the facade of concern.
Judge Korman, like President Obama, has two children. Yet neither man seems overly concerned that the drug they're both endorsing has never been tested on pre-teen and adolescent girls. Judge Korman called HHS's policy "scientifically unjustified," when in fact, the only thing that's scientifically unjustified is the effect of these high doses of hormones on young girls. The FDA hasn't conducted a single study on Plan B's risks to girls under 17 -- but as far as liberals are concerned, nothing should hinder access to anything related to sex, including personal safety.
Ironically, the Left has created every possible barrier to prevent children from being exposed to morality and religion. Yet at the same time, these liberals are building easy on-ramps to a highway of promiscuity, where the toll is hidden until it's too late to pull off. That's why parents are so vital to the decision-making process. Without adult supervision, there's absolutely no evidence that children will use the drugs appropriately -- and even if they do, Plan B still offers zero protection against sexually transmitted diseases (which, unlike unplanned pregnancies, can be fatal).
Now, thanks to the quitters on this case, moms and dads "are owed no legal say over whether very young daughters can pop a hormonal contraceptive with a can of Coke and a bag of Skittles the day after they have sex," write the editors of the New York Daily News. "A girl of braces-wearing age should be limited to freedom of choice over acne medications, not given the power to avert a feared pregnancy without so much as a chat with a caring adult."
Yet again, the President is putting politics ahead of the health and safety of young girls, which will ultimately do more to exacerbate the problems of teen sex and disease than solve them. Unfortunately, those trends will only change when leaders recognize that involving parents in the decision-making process may be the best birth control of all.
Going for Broke in Family Policy?
For a President who has presided over one of the biggest spikes in poverty rates, the White House is surprisingly mum on the issue. That changed yesterday, when the President introduced his newest addition to the Council of Economic Advisers, Jason Furman. "Even though the economy is growing," President Obama insisted, "too many middle class families still feel like they're working harder and harder and can't get ahead... Too many young people aren't sure whether they'll be able to match the living standards of their parents. We have too many kids in poverty in this country, still."
The President's right. Despite a massive expansion of government programs, liberals are still failing to keep Americans out of poverty. Why? Because no amount of federal welfare can compete with the original anti-poverty program: the family. As FRC's Dr. Pat Fagan points out, only 5.8% of married families were living in poverty in 2009. "It is the intact married family with children that creates a larger share of revenue for government; it is that same configuration of family, more than any other, that creates the most capital that can be used to grow our economy," he explains. "The future strength of our nation depends on good marriages to yield strong revenues, good health, low crime, high education, and high human capital."
America can't have limited government or a wealthy society if the family breaks down. Until Washington pursues policies that support families and encourage marriage and fatherhood, the cycle of poverty will only get worse. President Obama can pour billions of taxpayer dollars into welfare programs, but in the end, that isn't the solution -- attention to family welfare is. Find out why at FRC's Marriage and Religion Research Institute, MARRI online.
** Don't miss today's edition of "Washington Watch with Tony Perkins," as our friend Pastor Ron Johnson stops by to talk about Pulpit Freedom Sunday. Also, FRC's own Anna Higgins, Director of the Center for Human Dignity will be on the show to talk about the administration's change of heart on Plan B. Click over to TonyPerkins.com to watch live or to find an AFR station near you.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.