Disappointed by the administration's decision last week to stop a morning-after birth-control pill from being available to girls under the age of 17 without a prescription, NARAL Pro-Choice America sent a letter to the White House today signed by 35,000 activists saying the administration missed the chance "to improve young women's access to contraception, which is the best way to reduce unintended abortions and thus the need for abortion."
It was just the latest move by pro-choice groups to spark grassroots opposition to the administration's decision, which overruled a Food and Drug Administration recommendation that the pill -- Plan B One-Step -- be available without a prescription, even for girls under the age of 17. Critics of the decision have accused the Obama administration of putting politics above science.
Using social media, the pro-choice groups have tapped into their networks of activists to raise awareness of the decision, emphasizing the science behind the FDA's recommendation.
"We've definitely elevated the issue," NARAL spokesperson Ted Miller said.
Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, wrote an op-ed in the Huffington Post outlining the problems the decision created and penned a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requesting a meeting to discuss the matter.
"HHS' decision to overrule the FDA hurts all women by imposing arbitrary restrictions on a product that is only effective when taken in a timely manner," Richards wrote to Sebelius.
The problem for President Obama, who has said he did not make the decision but supports it, is that pro-choice women voters want to see a stark contrast between Obama and the GOP nominee, and the Plan B decision "makes it harder to make that contrast," Miller said.
"This group of women voters wanted to see the president fight back on these issues," he said.
Still, Obama is generally on the same page as pro-choice supporters, they said.
"While we disagree with the Plan B decision, he has been a very strong advocate for women's health," said Planned Parenthood spokesperson Tait Sye.
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