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Sebelius: Decision to keep Plan B age restrictions not political

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday defended her decision not to remove age restrictions on Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA)'s Plan B One-Step contraceptive, denying the decision was political.

Sebelius, who last week overruled the Food and Drug Administration's recommendation to make the contraceptive pill available over-the-counter to girls 16 and under, told reporters in Queens Monday that the company could re-apply to remove the age restrictions.

"There are always opportunities for the company to come back with additional data," Sebelius said, according to Bloomberg News.

"Subsequent discussions can take place," she added.

Some are suggesting the move was made for political reasons, and at least one former FDA official is calling on President Obama to reverse the decision.

On Monday, however, Sebelius told reporters her decision was not "about politics."

"It isn't about politics," Sebelius said. "I did not feel that the science supported "I did not feel that the science supported [making the contraceptive readily available to] all ages, because there was a large missing piece of the puzzle," she said, according to the New York Daily News.

"I felt that the data presented, and justification for [making Plan B available to] all ages, did not match," she added.

In explaining her decision to overrule the FDA last week, Sebelius cited "significant cognitive and behavioral differences between older adolescent girls and the youngest girls of reproductive age" that needed to be taken into consideration.

The Obama administration has since taken heat for the decision, both from women's health advocates and some Democrats.

Speaking at the same event earlier, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he disagreed with the Obama administration's call - because while "it would be much better if the young girls didn't get pregnant" in the first place, "once that happens I think that this should be available to anybody."

"The bottom line is, we have many too many out-of-wedlock births in this country," he continued. "And, yes, the people who say young girls shouldn't get pregnant, they're 100 percent right. And we do in this city a lot to try to teach people and inform them of the consequences of being parents and how -- the responsibilities.

Still, Bloomberg said he didn't know if Sebelius's decision was grounded in political interests.

"Why Sebelius decided to overrule her, I don't know," he said.