Judge: Abortion pill for all
NEW YORK TIMES
A federal judge ruled Friday that the government must make the most common morning-after pill available over the counter for all ages, instead of requiring a prescription for girls 16 and younger.
In his ruling, he also accused the federal government of "bad faith" in dealing with the requests to make the pill universally available, and said its actions had been politically motivated.
The decision, on a politically controversial subject, comes after a decade-long fight over who should have access to the pill and under what circumstances. And it counteracts an unprecedented move by the Obama administration's Health and Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, who in 2011 overruled a recommendation by the Food and Drug Administration to make the pill available for all ages without a prescription.
In a decision in a lawsuit filed by advocates, the judge, Edward R. Korman of U.S. District Court, ruled that the government's refusal to lift restrictions on access to the pill was "arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable."
Korman ordered the FDA to lift any age and sale restrictions on the pill, Plan B One-Step, and its generic versions, within 30 days.
"More than 12 years have passed since the citizen petition was filed and 8 years since this lawsuit commenced," the judge wrote. "The FDA has engaged in intolerable delays in processing the petition. Indeed, it could accurately be described as an administrative agency filibuster."