In a sharp reversal of the Bush administration’s attitude toward contraceptives - the Food and Drug Administration has been ordered to reconsider its restriction on making the emergency contraceptive Plan B available to 17-year-olds.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, in a 52-page ruling, said that the maker of Plan B must make it available to 17-year-olds just as it is available to older women.
Judge Edward Korman took aim at the Bush administration saying it had “repeatedly and unreasonably” delayed a decision on Plan B. And he accused the FDA of allowing politics to cloud its judgment by denying teens access to Plan B over-the-counter.
Bloomberg reports that Korman said FDA’s upper management and Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach “wrested control over the decision-making on Plan B from staff that normally would issue the final decision on an over-the-counter” application. “The Commissioner, at the behest of political actors, decided to deny non-prescription access to women 16 years and younger before FDA scientific review staff had completed their reviews.”
Judge Korman says his order must be met within 30 days.
Since 2006, women 18 and older have been able to obtain Plan B, or the morning after pill without a prescription. Pharmacies generally check a photo ID. Teens under the age of 17 had to obtain a prescription.
Plan B helps reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy when used within 24 hours of intercourse. It may be effective up to three days. Plan B prevents ovulation or fertilization and the implanting of a fertilized egg in the womb. Anti-abortion activists say that is equal to abortion.
The drug is made by Barr Pharmaceuticals, recently acquired by Teva Pharmaceuticals.
The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit against the FDA asking it to make the drug available to everyone without a prescription. #