Reproductive rights advocates have reason to celebrate. A Brooklyn federal judge has ordered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make the “morning after” pill available to women of all ages and without a prescription.
Currently, the government enforces age restrictions on nonprescription sales of emergency contraception pills to girls who are 16 years old or younger. For more than a decade, the Center for Reproductive Rights and other advocacy groups have petitioned the FDA to strike down the restrictions, saying there is no scientific proof that girls younger than 17 couldn’t safely use the drug without supervision. Additionally, Teva Pharmaceuticals Ltd., the maker of the first nonprescription emergency contraceptive pill available in the U.S., petitioned the government to allow nonprescription sales of its Plan B One-Step without restrictions.
In 2011, the FDA determined that girls younger than 17 could safely and properly use Plan B One-Step without supervision. But Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the recommendation, and a few days later, the FDA also rejected the advocacy groups’ petition to lift restrictions on Plan B One-Step. In his decision, U.S. District Judge Edward Korman called Sebelius’ actions “politically motivated, scientifically unjustified, and contrary to agency precedent.” He ordered the FDA to make Plan B One-Step and its generic versions available without restrictions within 30 days.
For more InsideCounsel stories about legal battles over contraception, read: