Today, in what is considered a monumental ruling, a federal judge in Brooklyn, New York, has ordered the U.S Food and Drug Administration to make the morning-after birth control pill available to people of any age without a prescription. Previously, a Health and Human Services decision required a prescription for girls under the age of 17. In his ruling, Judge Edward Korman also accused the federal government of “bad faith” in dealing with the requests to make the pill universally available, and said its actions had been politically motivated.
Plan B, the common name for the morning-after pill, should be taken within 72 hours after unprotected intercourse to prevent pregnancy. In 1999, it was the first emergency contraceptive drug approved for use by obtaining a prescription, but in 2006, the FDA approved it as an over-the-counter drug for women over the age of 18, while requiring a prescription for minors. The FDA subsequently allowed 17-year-olds to obtain the drug without a prescription.
U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman said, “The decisions of the Secretary with respect to Plan B One-Step and that of the FDA with respect to the Citizen Petition, which it had no choice but to deny, were arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable.”
Friday’s order came in response to a lawsuit launched by the Center for Reproductive Rights. The group was seeking to expand access to all brands of the morning-after pill over the counter, such as Plan B One-Step and Next Choice, so that women of all ages would be able to purchase them without a prescription.
“Today science has finally prevailed over politics,” Nancy Northup, the center’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “This landmark court decision has struck a huge blow to the deep-seated discrimination that has for too long denied women access to a full range of safe and effective birth control methods.”
In a press briefing, Northup said that according to the order, within 30 days, the pill would be available over the counter without “point of sale restrictions,” such as needing to show identification or being a certain age.
The F.D.A. and the Department of Health and Human Services declined to comment on the ruling or the judge’s harsh criticisms on Friday morning or to indicate whether the government would file an appeal, saying the decision, which was issued in the Eastern District of New York, was being reviewed. “The Department of Justice is reviewing the appellate options and expects to act promptly,” said Allison Price, a department spokeswoman.
Judge Rules Morning-After Pill Will Be Available For All Ages Over The Counter
What do you think of the ruling?