The morning-after pill for emergency contraception, popularly known as “Plan B,” must be made available over the counter to girls 16 and under, a New York federal judge has ruled.
The ruling could end a long battle over how easy or difficult it should be for teenage girls to obtain emergency contraception. The ruling would also make it easier for all women to obtain the morning-after pill because it wouldn’t have to be kept behind drugstore counters anymore.
The judge’s order effectively overturns a controversial 2011 decision by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius that barred over-the-counter sales of the pill to girls under 17.
After years of study and internal debate, the FDA had decided that Plan B One Step should be allowed for sale without a prescription — and without age restrictions. Sebelius’ controversial ruling overturned the FDA’s decision.
Senior Judge Edward R. Korman, of the Eastern District of New York, ruled that Sebelius’s ruling on Plan B was “arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable.” Judge Korman went on to call Sebelius’ decision “politically motivated, scientifically unjustified, and contrary to agency precedent ….”