Obama gives in and stops fighting age limit on 'morning after' pill
It was probably a losing battle anyway. The courts seem determined to allow 12 and 13 year old girls to purchase the morning after pill so the Department of Justice threw in the towel yesterday.
The Obama administration will scrap age restrictions on the sale of emergency contraception pills, making the morning-after pill available to women and girls without a prescription.
Last week, an appeals court said that a two-pill version of the drug can be sold over-the-counter without age restrictions even while the federal government fights Korman's ruling.
In April, U.S. District Judge Edward Korman ruled that the drug should be made widely available, blasting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for what he said was an "arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable" decision to reject a citizen petition that called for ending age restrictions.
Senior administration officials described the move on Monday as a reaction to the reality of having lost several rounds of litigation on the issue.
The decision "will make emergency contraception available on store shelves, just like condoms, and women of all ages will be able to get it quickly in order to prevent unintended pregnancy," said Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards.
Advocates for such emergency pills say they help reduce unwanted pregnancies or abortions and that quick access for women of all ages is critical for the medicines to work. The pill is most effective when taken within 72 hours of intercourse.
The U.S. Department of Justice said in a letter on Monday that it would comply with a court's ruling to allow unrestricted sales of Plan B One-Step, withdrawing its appeal on the matter. The move closes a battle over the pill that has lasted over a decade, but could raise new controversy for President Barack Obama.
Until recently, the pill was only available without a prescription to women 17 and older who presented proof of age at a pharmacist's counter. Critics say unfettered access could lead to promiscuity, sexual abuse and fewer important doctor visits if readily available for purchase.
Parents who monitor what over the counter medication their children take for colds or sore throats are now denied that right when it comes to the morning after pill. A 12 year old having sex with anyone of any age is being raped and preventing parents from discovering this is unconscionable.