The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

National News

April 5, 2013

New York judge makes morning-after pill available to all

ST. LOUIS — The Food and Drug Administration must make emergency contraceptives available to girls of all ages within 30 days, a federal judge has ruled, saying the agency’s decisions regarding the so-called morning-after pill were “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable.

Judge Edward Korman in Brooklyn released the decision Friday, though it was dated Thursday. He had warned in the past that he was unhappy with the way the FDA had handled the issue, saying it had failed to engage in rulemaking to adopt an age-restricted marketing regime.

The Center for Reproductive Rights and other groups have argued that contraceptives are being held to a different and non-scientific standard than other drugs and that politics has played a role in decision making. Social conservatives have said the pill is tantamount to abortion.

F. Franklin Amanat, a lawyer for the government, said the Department of Justice has no immediate comment.

“We are reviewing the decision and evaluating the government’s options,” he said.

Andrea Costello, an attorney with the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, called it a landmark victory.

“This is a landmark decision in terms of providing women and girls in the United States access to a safe and effective form of birth control,” Costello said.

The morning-after pill currently is available without a prescription only to those 17 and older who can prove their age. Younger teens must get a prescription.

The Food and Drug Administration was preparing to let the pill be sold without a prescription or age limit when, in 2011, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled FDA scientists and said the age restrictions should remain in place. President Barack Obama said he supported the decision regarding a pill that can prevent pregnancy if taken soon enough after unprotected sex.

The judge said the FDA decided after 11 months, 47,000 public comments and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars spent, that it did not need rulemaking on the subject.

“The plaintiffs should not be forced to endure, nor should the agency’s misconduct be rewarded by, an exercise that permits the FDA to engage in further delay and obstruction,” he wrote.

He said the case isn’t about the potential misuse of the morning-after pill by 11-year-olds. He said the contraceptives would be among the safest drugs sold over-the-counter and the number of 11-year-olds likely to use the drugs was minuscule.

Four years ago, Korman was highly critical of the government’s handling of the issue when he ordered the FDA to let 17-year-olds obtain the medication. At the time, he accused the government of letting “political considerations, delays and implausible justifications for decision-making” cloud the approval process.

 

1
Text Only
National News
  • Salmonella decline seen in food poisoning report

    The government’s latest report card on food poisoning shows a dip in salmonella cases but an increase in illnesses from bacteria in raw shellfish.

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge in gay marriage case asks pointed questions

    A judge in Colorado who will play a pivotal role deciding whether gays should be allowed to wed in the United States asked pointed questions Thursday about whether Oklahoma can legally ban the unions.

    April 17, 2014

  • Obama shows skepticism on Russia in Ukraine

    President Barack Obama conveyed skepticism Thursday about Russian promises to de-escalate a volatile situation in Ukraine, and said the United State and its allies are ready to impose fresh sanctions if Moscow doesn’t make good on its commitments.

    April 17, 2014

  • Cyber cops: Target hackers may take years to find

    Secret Service investigators say they are close to gaining a full understanding of the methods hackers used to breach Target’s computer systems last December.

    April 17, 2014

  • Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies

    As political campaigns begin to heat up, the Supreme Court is deciding whether false accusations and mudslinging made during an election can be punished as a crime.

    April 16, 2014

  • Auto Show Nissan Hot _Cast.jpg Hot models at this year’s New York Auto Show

    With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the U.S. auto industry.

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • Transportation Blues 2.jpg Congress is giving states the transportation blues

    On the road in a tour bus this week, the U.S. transportation secretary is spreading some bad news: the government’s Highway Trust Fund is nearly broke.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Report: Russia withheld intel before Boston attack

    A yearlong review of information the U.S. intelligence community had prior to the Boston Marathon bombing found that the investigation could have been more thorough.

    April 11, 2014

  • Obama Health Secretary.jpg Obama announces Sebelius resignation, successor

    President Barack Obama praised outgoing Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for helping to steer his health care law’s comeback after a rocky rollout, even as he nominated a successor aimed at helping the White House move past the political damage.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police seek driver in deadly Florida day care crash

    As mourners trickled by Thursday to honor the 4-year-old girl who was killed and 14 others injured in a crash at a Florida day care, authorities scoured the state for the driver they said fled in the vehicle that caused the fatal wreck.

    April 10, 2014