Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager sent a letter to Governor Jim Doyle (D) yesterday, asking permission to sue the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the ongoing delay in approving over-the-counter sales of the emergency contraceptive Plan B. According to The Capitol Times,, Lautenschlager wrote, “If the FDA had not delayed its decision, it appears likely that there would be substantial differences in the areas of prenatal care, schooling and health costs related to teenage mothers continuing with pregnancies and giving birth, abortion, and complications from abortions,” suggesting that state agencies and residents are feeling the effects of more unwanted pregnancies than would be the case were Plan B made available.
According to the state constitution, Lautenschlager needs the permission of either the governor or one chamber of the Wisconsin legislature in order to sue the federal government. Doyle has promised to give the matter quick attention, and already instructed the Department of Health and Family Services to work with the Justice Department in determining the grounds for such a case. Spokeswoman Melanie Fonder told the Wisconsin State Journal, “The governor has been very troubled by the FDA delay in approval.”
So far, the only other suit against the FDA on this issue comes from the Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed suit in federal court in New York in January.