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.”
The Justice Department then appealed the ruling last month, and requested a stay of the order while the appeal moved forward, but Korman scolded the Obama administration for trying to “vindicate the improper conduct of the secretary.”
“Indeed, in my view, the defendants’ appeal is frivolous and is taken for the purpose of delay,” he wrote. “The cause of the rejection of over-the-counter sale of levonorgestrel-based emergency contraceptives was the secretary of health and human services. She has not changed her position. A remand would thus be futile. More significantly, I have been there and done that.”
On Monday, the FDA released a statement outlining its intent to follow the judge’s original order.
“To comply with the order, the F.D.A. has asked the manufacturer of Plan B One-Step to submit a supplemental application seeking approval of the one-pill product to be made available O.T.C. without any such restrictions,” it wrote. “Once [the] F.D.A. receives that supplemental application, the F.D.A. intends to approve it promptly.”
Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, applauded the decision.
“This is a huge breakthrough for access to birth control and a historic moment for women’s health and equity,” said Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Anna Higgins of Family Research Council, however, expressed disappointment that the government had given up the fight.
“We’re very concerned and disappointed at the same time because what we see here is the government caving to political pressure instead of putting first the health and safety of girls [and] parental rights,” she told reporters.
Some pro-life groups strongly oppose the morning-after pill altogether as they believe that it only encourages youth — and women in general — to be sexually active.
“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,” stated Alex Mason of the Family Policy Network in Forest, Virginia. “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,” he added. “[T]he only ‘emergency’ that the MAP is named for is the ‘hassle’ of having a baby.”
The pill will now be available over the counter to girls of all ages at drug stores nationwide.
Photo: Cool Caesar