What Does Obama Gain By Opposing Plan B?

The Obama administration is appealing a ruling that would have made emergency contraception available to all women, regardless of age, without a prescription. Will Wilkinson tries to understand the political calculus:

[I]t seems rather plausible that the survival of all-but-universal coverage of contraception under Obamacare is far more important in preventing unwanted pregnancy (and abortion, and child poverty) than a policy ensuring that 15-year-old girls, who are very unlikely to use it in time, can find Plan B at their neighbourhood CVS next to the aspirin. If a more or less symbolic concession to religious conservatives on a far less important controversy reduces hostility to the Obamacare contraceptive mandate, even just a little bit, then it may be well worth doing as a matter of women’s reproductive health.

I certainly don’t know that this is Mr Obama’s calculation, or that it’s not a miscalculation. But I do know Mr Obama goes in for this sort of thing. Witness the administration’s strategy of beefing up border security and hugely increasing deportations in order to soften the ground for comprehensive immigration reform.

Power with, not over.