UPDATE 12/9, 11:45a:  A sixth theory, by Steven Ertelt at LifeNews.com:

“The Obama administration’s track record on protecting Planned Parenthood raises the likelihood that the FDA decision is less about safety and more about making sure that Planned Parenthood retains a substantial share of the Plan B market,” Indiana Right to Life president Mike Fichter told LifeNews…. “The reality is that putting this drug on the shelf at local stores would cost Planned Parenthood millions of dollar in revenue.”

Giving credit where it’s due, Kelsey of Secular Pro-Life also posed this theory early on (first comment here).

Penny Pullen agrees, writing in the upcoming December 12 Life Advocacy Briefing:

“Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Vanessa Cullins said,” according to the National Journal, “the decision could make it harder to fight the United States’s historically high teen birth and abortion rates.” And we are told Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards is seeking a meeting with her organization’s usual close buddy, Mrs. Sebelius.

We’re not sure this angst is genuine. After all, where would young girls likely go for their still-required prescriptions – their own doctors or the “nice folks” at Planned Parenthood, who can then “serve” their continued need for intervention in their sex lives?

And here’s a seventh good theory, by Bill Beckman of the Illinois Right to Life Committee:

I have a theory to explain this unexpected behavior.  According to the Associated Press on December 7:

Already, the FDA’s age limits have gone to court. In 2009, a federal judge said the agency had set them initially based on politics, not science, and ordered the agency to reconsider. A hearing already was scheduled for next week to consider whether the FDA should be held in contempt of court for not doing so earlier.

My theory is the possibility that they are trying to gain political points with uninformed conservative voters by showing how reasonable they are, knowing that next week they will get what they really want when the court “forces” them to allow Plan B over-the-counter for everyone of any age

UPDATE 12/8, 8:45a: A fifth plausible theory, by UltraTom on Twitter:

My guess is Obama re-elect team freaked when they polled this. Similar thing occurred in ’96 re: RU-486 approval w/Clinton.

In ’96, then-White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta received “heads up” call from FDA regarding RU-486; Clinton OKed it.

So if the most pro-abortion President in recent history told Sebelius to kibosh it, u can bet paycheck polls were AWFUL.

12/7, 9:03p: The question raging tonight is why did Sebelius make this decision? No one believes she did it for the reason she says she did it, although our side will sure take it.

According to the New York Times, although the Secretary of Health and Human Services has the authority to overrule FDA decisions, this was the first time in history one exercised that authority.

From the Los Angeles Times, the most prevalent theory:

Her official stance, which bears little scrutiny, has led reproductive-rights groups to allege that the decision was politically motivated – perhaps by fear within the Obama administration of being attacked during the presidential campaign for encouraging young girls to have unprotected sex without their parents’ knowledge.

Another theory, posed by Ms.:

Possibly she’s tired of the relentless pressure she faces every day from religious groups and their friends in Congress. Possibly she’s tired of being called “a threat to the health and well-being of our country,” a thug, a Soviet tyrant, a late-term abortion lover, criminally obstructive, gruesomely anti-Catholic and a liar.

A third theory, from the National Journal:

The administration has been in a delicate dance over another touchy issue – the requirement that all medical professionals provide reproductive health care to women.

There has been strong push-back from Catholic medical institutions, which say their workers shouldn’t be forced to provide contraception, or even counsel about it. Roman Catholic teaching forbids the use of artificial birth control. A decision had been expected this week on whether HHS would change some of its wording.

Some activists suspect HHS may have been making a trade-off.

And a fourth theory, by Amanda Marcotte:

So why on earth did this happen? Well, it has to be political, doesn’t it? I think so, yes. The Obama administration has already caught a lot of flack for classifying contraception as “prevention”, and making it free without a co-pay, and so they threw teenage girls and adult women seeking EC out as a sacrificial lamb to “pay” for that. That seems obvious enough to me and apparently to the entire world.

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