Pro-life groups say they were pleasantly surprised by Sebelius’ decision.
“I think it’s kind of fascinating because we’re so used to seeing the abortion lobby win on things like this,” says Charmaine Yoest, President and CEO of Americans United for Life (AUL).
But pro-life advocates aren’t exactly celebrating. They fear the pro-choice community will continue to file lawsuits and publicly pressure the administration until it grants unlimited access to the morning after pill.
“We hope the administration will hold strong against that,” Yoest said. Sebelius has indicated that the issue may be revisited.
In this instance, pro-life groups had good things to say about HHS.
“AUL [Americans United for Life] was very pleased that the administration took the viewpoint that young girls need adult supervision for taking what is a dangerous drug,” said group spokeswoman Kristi Hamrick. “It was a good decision, however AUL would encourage the administration to review much more broadly the healthcare guidelines … with those same sentiments. Presently the preventive care guidelines are calling abortion-inducing drugs contraceptives.”
Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest said the administration didn’t go far enough.
“Secretary Sebelius made the right decision today in protecting the health and safety of minors. However, it’s an outrage that a drug like Plan B is available over the counter at any age — this is a policy that endangers women’s health and should be reversed.”
Anna Franzonello, staff counsel with Americans United for Life, said that although Obama has said he favors a “robust” conscience clause, “what this actually shows is that robust to him means a fig leaf of protection.” The group maintains that emergency contraceptives that would be covered by this mandate are a form of abortion.