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Judge Strikes Restrictions On 'Morning-After' Pill

File-Reuters

File-Reuters

NEW YORK — A federal judge on Friday ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make "morning-after" emergency contraception pills available without a prescription to all girls of reproductive age.

The ruling is a victory for reproductive-rights groups that had sought to remove age and other restrictions on emergency contraception.

Currently, only women age 17 or older can obtain emergency contraception pills without a prescription. Point-of-sale restrictions require that all women present identification to a pharmacist before obtaining the drug.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Edward Korman said the FDA's rejection of requests to remove age restrictions to obtain the pill was "arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable."

FDA spokeswoman Erica Jefferson declined to comment on the ruling, saying it was an ongoing legal matter.

The Center for Reproductive Rights and other groups had petitioned the FDA to strike down age and access limits on all emergency contraceptives, saying there was no scientific proof that girls younger than 17 could not safely use the drug without supervision.

Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, hailed the ruling. "Women all over the country will no longer face arbitrary delays and barriers just to get emergency contraception," she said.

Teva Pharmaceuticals Ltd's Plan B in 1999 became the first emergency contraceptive available for prescription use in the United States. The company also markets Plan B One-Step, a one-pill version of Plan B.

Teva had also petitioned the government to allow sales of Plan B One-Step over the counter without restrictions.

In 2011, the FDA said it had concluded Plan B One-Step could be safely used in girls of child-bearing age. But U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, in an unprecedented move, overruled the FDA and said that there was insufficient evidence to support removing the restrictions.

Several days later, the FDA also rejected the petition to lower restrictions on all emergency contraceptives.

In Friday's ruling, Korman blasted the agencies' justification for their decisions, calling it "an excuse to deprive the overwhelming majority of women of their rights to obtain contraceptives without unjustified and burdensome restrictions."

Comments

buddy 1 year, 4 months ago

WOW! This nation really is sinking to the depths of the Abyss. Forget teaching girls morals and respect of themselves, instead give them an abortion pill in case they slip up so they can keep on doing what got them in trouble to begin with.

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redpen12 1 year, 4 months ago

Yeah, it's not an "abortion pill." It's a method of contraception that doesn't allow the sperm to fertilize the egg. Just like regular birth control.

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Sherwood_Eagle_Alum 1 year, 4 months ago

We have a problem with teen pregnancy...This can help with that...Instilling morals is the duty of the parents and church not the government...

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whodat 1 year, 4 months ago

well, buddy, you might want to look at the calendar. this is the 21st century and your sexism is showing when you conveniently neglect to mention that it takes two to tango. So, if girls don't get pregnant by themselves, what is the males' responsibility in all this? Hmm? Where is the respect for females? What "moral teachings" are males exercising when they are in the act of getting a girl pregnant? it appears to me that you (and others of your ilk that think like you do, i.e. "they slip up") want to put 100% of the responsibility of contraception on females. well, the judge knows about guys like you; that's why he ruled in favor of the availability of this pill without restrictions.

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TiredOfStupidPeople 1 year, 4 months ago

Another idiot judge forcing our country to circle the drain ever so closer...

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FryarTuk 1 year, 4 months ago

If the all the unwanted pregnancies are prevented the extremist organizations will have no fetal pictures for raising money. Hmm if we want less abortions prevent pregnancies.

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