'Morning-after' pill can be given to all ages, judge rules
U.S. District Judge Edward Korman found that existing restrictions of the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services limiting access to women 17 and older were "arbitrary and capricious."
Korman said the agencies had bowed to "political pressure" from the White House, and he said there was no health risk in making it available even to girls as young as young as 10 or 11. He said the imprudence of children that young having intercourse was not part of the statutory standard for drug regulation.
"The standards are the same for aspirin and contraceptives," Korman wrote.
He ordered that his ruling should take effect in 30 days. The lawsuit over the morning-after pill - known as the Plan B contraceptive - was initiated by reproductive rights groups.
Currently, women under 17 have to have a prescription, and women older than 17 can only purchase the pill at a pharmacy with identification.
Officials at the Department of Justice and HHS in Washington had no immediate comment on whether the government would appeal.
The Center for Reproductive Rights, one of the groups that had sued to overturn restrictions on the pill, lauded Korman's decision.
"Today science has finally prevailed over politics," said Nancy Northup, president of the group. "This landmark court decision has struck a huge blow to the deep-seated discrimination that has for too long denied women access to a full range of safe and effective birth control methods."
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said quick and easy access to the morning-after pill was safe even for young teens, and necessary to allow girls to avoid unintended pregnancies due to ineffective contraception or unprotected sex.
"This ruling is good policy, good science and good sense," she said.
Planned Parenthood of Nassau County, JoAnn Smith, president, said her organization welcomes the ruling.
"We are very, very, very happy for women of all ages. It expands access to birth control and to the health care that women need in order to prevent unintended pregnancies," she said. "We know that teen pregnancy is higher than it should be in Nassau County, and not all teens have access to sex education courses which would provide them with the information they need.
"If you make the decision to be sexually active, you must practice safe sex and that means not only birth control, but also condoms to avoid sexually transmitted diseases. This (morning-after) pill is only a backup. Accidents do happen and this is the safety belt to make sure and to prevent unintended pregnancies."
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Manchester Youth Leadership Academy will start Sept. 23 - 0
- New school year kicks off in style in Wilton/Lyndeborough - 0
- PSU recognizes 3 professors for their scholarship, service - 0
- Unity Elementary School off to late start - 0
- La. Gov. Jindal files federal lawsuit over Common Core - 0
- Central High parents reminded to use caution when dropping kids off - 0
- New Manchester school district standards to give teachers more leeway - 4
- Construction to begin on Hollis playground - 0
- New Derry school year launch honors everyday heroes - 0
READER COMMENTS: 0
- On Baseball: Fisher Cats manager Meacham learned a few things, too - 0
- First and 10: Old No. 1 begins as new No. 1 - 0
- NHIAA Girls' Soccer Preview: All eyes on Bedford, Exeter - 0
- Another View -- Dan McGuire: We Free Staters are not some threat to be feared - 0
- Taxpayer rights: Left, right should restore them - 0
- Hooksett highs: A good multiple choice test - 0
- No paper Monday - 0
- Patriots' Garoppolo solid, but Giants eke out 16-13 win in preseason finale - 0
- Education business tax credit program upheld - 0
Enter to win tickets to see Paula Poundstone
Win tickets to see Steven Wright
Where is Shaheen? Hiding from you