If Democrats thought that limiting access to the morning after pill would win over anti-abortion voters or at least reduce some of the vitriol spewed by Republican politicians, they’d be sorely disappointed in Rick Santorum’s comments at a town hall in Belle Plaine, Iowa this morning. Just days after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the Food and Drug Administration to limit access to the medication for women under the age of 17, Santorum described the Obama administration as “the most pro-abortion” and criticized the president for even considering expanding the availability of the drug:
SANTORUM: You have this administration, the most pro-abortion. They were trying to make the morning after pill an over the counter drug. This is just outrageous…I think you still need a prescription to get it, but they wanted to make it an over the counter drug…And of course it is an abortificaiton, and not always, but many times is an abortion.
Santorum, of course, has his facts wrong. In August of 2006, President George W. Bush’s FDA approved over-the-counter access to Plan B emergency contraception for women 18 years and older and the medication is currently available behind the counter to women 17 and older — meaning that they do not need a prescription but they have to ask a pharmacist for the drug. Following Sebelius’ decision, girls 16 and younger will still need a prescription in order to obtain it. Plan B is a form of oral contraception that works in the same way as the birth control bill, only after sexual intercourse. It prevents pregnancy and will not work after a fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus. Despite the lack of conclusive scientific evidence, some conservatives like Santorum also argue that the pill and emergency contraception could prevent implantation and thus result in an abortion.