Federal Judge Refuses to Stay Order on Emergency Contraception

On Monday, the federal government appealed to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to block the unregulated sale of emergency contraception, commonly called Plan B, after a federal judge refused to delay the enforcement of his decision to make Plan B available over the counter for women and girls of all ages.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Edward Korman in Brooklyn refused a request by government lawyers to delay the implementation of his decision while the federal government has a pending appeal. He responded harshly, “If a stay is granted, it will allow the bad-faith, politically motivated decision of Secretary Sebelius, who lacks any medical or scientific expertise, to prevail – thus justifiably undermining the public’s confidence in the drug approval process.” He also argued that the appeal of his decision was an effort to “vindicate the improper conduct of the secretary.”

Lawyers for the administration argued that if the pills were made available with no restrictions during the pending appeal it could cause market confusion if the restrictions are upheld as a result of the appeal. Judge Korman responded that such an argument was “largely an insult to the intelligence of women.”

Late May 1, the Obama Administration filed an appeal in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals challenging a federal judge’s decision that emergency contraception must be made available over the counter with no age restrictions. The announcement came a day after the FDA approved new guidelines for the sale of emergency contraception. Under the approved guidelines, anyone purchasing Plan B must have proof that they are 15 years of age, either a driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate. Anyone who cannot prove their age will be denied the medication. U.S. District Judge Edward Korman ruled in early April that the morning-after-pill must be made available over the counter for any girl, regardless of her age. He ordered the FDA to lift any age and sales restrictions on Plan B within 30 days.


Associated Press 5/13/2013; New York 5/10/2013; Feminist Newswire 5/2/2013, 4/5/2013

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