U.S. District Judge Edward Korman ruled on Friday morning that the morning-after-pill or “Plan B” must be made available over the counter for any girl, regardless of her age. The decision comes as part of a lawsuit against the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by reproductive rights organizations to remove the age and sales restrictions on emergency contraception.
Judge Korman stated in his opinion that the FDA’s refusal to lift restrictions was “arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable.” “More than 12 years have passed since the citizen petition was filed and 8 years since this lawsuit commenced,” the judge wrote. “The F.D.A. has engaged in intolerable delays in processing the petition. Indeed, it could accurately be described as an administrative agency filibuster.” He continued, “The plaintiffs should not be forced to endure, nor should the agency’s misconduct be rewarded by, an exercise that permits the F.D.A. to engage in further delay and obstruction.” He ordered the FDA to lift any age and sales restrictions on Plan B within 30 days.
Nancy Northrup of the Center for Reproductive Rights applauded the judge’s decision: “Women all over the country will no longer face arbitrary delays and barriers just to get emergency contraception,” she said.
Media Resources: CBS 4/5/2013; New York Times 4/5/2013; Reuters 4/5/2013
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