Appeals court orders FDA to make emergency contraception available without age restriction

By Kay Steiger
Wednesday, June 5, 2013 14:16 EDT
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The Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday rejected an Obama administration appeal to keep emergency contraception limited to women 15 years and older with valid identification.

The ruling, submitted by judges Ralph K. Winter, Peter W. Hall and Gerard E. Lynch, ordered the Food and Drug Administration “to immediately provide over-the-counter access to the one-pill variants of emergency contraceptives.”

“Finally, after more than a decade of politically motivated delays, women will no longer have to endure intrusive, onerous, and medically unnecessary restrictions to get emergency contraception,” Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a press release.

The Obama administration had appealed the decision of Judge Edward R. Korman, who similarly ordered the FDA to make the drug available over the counter and without age restriction in a scathing decision in which he said the agency “bowed to political pressure” and that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius’ defense of the age restriction was “so unpersuasive as to call into question her good faith.”

The appeal came just one day after the administration lowered the age someone can purchase the drug from 17 to 15.

Many women’s health advocates objected to this move, saying that it still required the cashier to verify age with a valid ID and that it would likely place an extra burden on teens and women who are over 15 but lack such an ID, such as undocumented immigrants.

Read the order.

2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Stay Order on emergency contraception

["Stock Photo: Angry Blonde Female Judge In Black Robe With Gavel. Focus On Gavel." on Shutterstock]

Kay Steiger
Kay Steiger
Kay Steiger is the managing editor of Raw Story. Her contributions have appeared in The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Campus Progress, The Guardian, In These Times, Jezebel, Religion Dispatches, RH Reality Check, and others. You can follow her on Twitter @kaysteiger.
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