The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must end restrictions on how old a woman can be to obtain the pregnancy-halting “Plan B” morning after pill, according to a Federal judge’s ruling Friday that excoriated the Administration of President Barack Obama for politicizing the issue.
Before the ruling, the morning-after pill was available only to women who show proof to pharmacists that they’re 17 or older. Pharmacists could also, for reasons of conscience, refuse to sell the pills to anyone at all.
The new ruling makes the pills as easy to get as vitamins or headache medicine, and effectively removes the moral onus from pharmacists by moving the pill out onto store shelves, where a prescription or proof of age isn’t required to make a purchase.
In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman criticized the Obama Administration, saying a 2011 decision by Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the department of Health and Human Services, to limit sales of the pill to those over age 16 was “obviously political.”
“Even with eyes shut to the motivation for the Secretary’s decision, the reasons she provided are so unpersuasive as to call into question her good faith,” the judge wrote of Sebelius.
Unless the appeals process leads to delays, the order will take effect nationwide in 30 days; and morning-after pills could appear on drugstore shelves.