NEW YORK, (Reuters) – A federal judge yesterday ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make “morning-after” emergency contraception pills available without a prescription to all girls of reproductive age and criticized the Obama administration for interfering with the process for political purposes.
The ruling in a Brooklyn court is the latest step in the years-long legal saga over the pill known as “Plan B,” a drug that has also sparked political and religious battles. Reproductive-rights groups cheered the decision as overdue, while anti-abortion and some religious groups condemned it.
The order reverses a surprise December 2011 decision by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. After the FDA decided to approve over-the-counter sales with no age limits, Sebelius ordered it to reverse course, barring girls under 17 from buying the pills without a prescription.