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So Much for Making Policy Decisions Based on Science

Plan B on the shelf – in Canada.

The Obama administration has decided to fight a court order to allow Plan B to  be sold over the counter to younger women. This is a very disappointing move by a man that goes to great lengths to pretend to be a “technocrat.”

This whole fight started when back in 2011 the FDA, after extensive review, concluded that Plan B should be sold over the counter. But then in a shocking move Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made the highly unusual decision to overrule this decision.

At the time this was viewed as election year politics but the Obama administration’s decision to continue fighting this in court shows it is actually driven by ideology. Here is a clear instance where the science said one thing and Obama decided to simply ignore that. Sadly, this is not an isolated instance.

While Obama often tries to depict himself as being a technocrat whose decision are based in science and evidence this image does not fit with how he governs. Obama long justified his push for deficit reduction based on economic studies which have now been solidly discredited, yet instead of abandoning austerity he continues to push for it.

Similarly, his administration claims to want a drug policy based on science but his administration mostly continues the same failed drug war tactics. Instead of basing his drug policy on science his administration has actually aggressively fought any attempts to conduct scientific research on the medical properties of marijuana and completely ignored the science regarding the scheduling of marijuana.

While Obama may use different code words to justify his actions, they are as much based on politics, personal preference, and ideology as other recent presidents.

Photo by gruntzooki under Creative Commons license.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at