Yesterday US District Judge Edward Korman ruled that he would allow the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) to refile a case against the FDA for “imposing unnecessary age restrictions on emergency contraceptives, and seek immediate relief to allow broader access to available drugs.” Judge Korman will also permit CRR to add Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as a defendant after she overruled the FDA’s decision to lift the age limit for emergency contraception and permit the over-the-counter sale of the Plan B One-Step last week and instructed the FDA Commissioner to deny the request for over-the-counter sales with a prescription for Plan B One-Step.
Nancy Northup, president and CEO of CRR, stated, “We intend to take every legal step necessary to hold the FDA and this administration accountable for its extraordinary actions to block women from safe, effective emergency contraception. It has been ten years of battling to bring emergency contraception out from behind the pharmacy counter. The FDA cannot simply continue moving the goal posts down the field for women’s reproductive healthcare.”
Judge Korman nevertheless denied the Center for Reproductive Right’s (CRR) request to hold the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in contempt of court for delaying a decision on nonprescription drug sales for Plan B. He indicated that the request was “moot” given the FDA recently issued its decision regarding Plan B.
Currently Plan B is available to women 17 years and older without a prescription. But because of the restriction that females under 17 must have a prescription to buy Plan B, it is only available for all women behind the counter of a pharmacy. Levonorgestrel, sold under the brand name Plan B, is a form of emergency contraception that must be taken within 72 hours of sexual activity.
National Partnership for Women and Families 12/14/11; CRR Statement 12/13/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 11/16/10