Washington, D.C. — The United States Department of Justice has appealed a ruling ordering the government to remove all age restrictions surrounding non-prescription-based sales of the morning-after pill.
The notice of appeal was filed on Wednesday, one day after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) moved the pill over-the-counter and lowered the purchasing age to fifteen in an attempt to appease the court.
As previously reported, Judge Edward R. Korman, appointed by Ronald Reagan, blasted the Obama administration in March for not making Plan B, and other generic variations of the pill, freely available to all ages. He stated that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius likely had the presidential election in mind when she set the age limit to 17 in 2011.
“The motivation for the secretary’s action was obviously political,” he wrote. “[I]t was scientifically unjustified, and contrary to agency precedent.”
But Sebelius stated at that time that the basis of her decision was her belief that Teva Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturers of Plan B, had not yet researched whether the morning-after pill might be harmful to girls as young as age 11.
Now, the Justice Department is asking Korman to stay his order pending appeal as it asserts that his “court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to review any aspect” of the case.
Following the notice of appeal, Planned Parenthood called upon the Obama administration to allow girls of all ages to have access to the pill without a prescription.
“Studies show that emergency contraception is a safe and effective form of birth control that can prevent pregnancy if taken within five days of unprotected sex, and research also shows that teens are as likely as adults to use emergency contraception correctly,” asserted Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Age barriers to emergency contraception are not supported by science, and they should be eliminated.”
The National Organization for Women agreed.
“Millions of women need access to this safe and effective product, and the prevention of unwanted pregnancy, particularly in adolescents, should not be obstructed by politicians,” said President Terry O’Neill.
However, the Family Policy Network in Forest, Virginia contends that the morning-after pill is dangerous and destructive to women of all ages.
“Even though the primary purpose of the MAP is to prevent conception by preventing ovulation, a secondary effect of the drug is to prevent an already-fertilized egg from attaching itself to the uterine wall. This secondary effect constitutes an abortion; it is the destruction of a tiny human life,” explained Policy Analyst Alex Mason.
“In an obvious attempt to make the use of abortifacient drugs like the MAP more acceptable, abortion activists and pharmaceutical companies are waging a misinformation campaign to redefine the meaning of ‘pregnancy,'” he continued. “As a result, they have succeeded in convincing millions of the lie that a pregnancy begins at the point when the fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus, rather than the at the moment the sperm fertilizes the egg.”
Mason also opined that the pill promotes promiscuity and leaves women susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases and the potentially harmful side affects associated with the drug.
“The MAP does nothing to alleviate the root problem of promiscuity. Rather, by offering a so-called ‘easy’ option to shirk the consequences of non-marital sex, this self-serve abortifacient only encourages people to become more sexually active with more partners,” he outlined. “The rise in the acceptance of casual sex is evidenced by the name of the pill. ‘Morning-after’ implies that aborting a baby is no big deal, like brushing one’s teeth or taking a shower. The MAP just adds one more item to the ‘morning-after’ to-do list.”
“With a misnomer like ’emergency contraceptive pill,’ its name draws attention away from parental responsibility, abstinence, and self-control,” Mason added. “[T]he only ’emergency’ that the MAP is named for is the ‘hassle’ of having a baby.”