A US District Court judge in Brooklyn ruled today that the “morning after” pill Plan B must be made available over the counter (without a prescription) to all ages. The ruling reverses a December 2011 decision by US Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to limit access to the pill to women age 17 or older. Her ruling went against the FDA’s recommendation for access over the counter by all women of child-bearing age and was considered by many to be a purely political move.
“The motivation for the secretary’s action was obviously political,” Korman wrote.
“Nevertheless, even with eyes shut to the motivation for the secretary’s decision, the reasons she provided are so unpersuasive as to call into question her good faith,” he wrote.
Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, hailed the ruling. “Women all over the country will no longer face arbitrary delays and barriers just to get emergency contraception,” she said.
And from the other side of the issue: “When these are right out there with the bubble gum, they’re going to be part of the date rape cocktail,” said Karen Brauer, president of the pro-life Pharmacists for Life. Making Plan B available over the counter will take its sale out of the hands of pharmacists, some of whom refuse to fill prescriptions for contraceptives.
Today’s decision removes the politics and religion and restores FDA rulings to their proper place, the realm of science and medicine. No doubt the war on women and their reproductive rights will continue, but today’s ruling is a victory for women’s rights to emergency contraception. .
PREVIOUSLY ON PIED TYPE: Plan B: Politics trumps science