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Judge Strikes Down Age Restrictions for Emergency Contraception

Plan B and other levonorgestrel-based emergency contraception will be available over-the-counter without age restrictions.

U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman overturned a law prohibiting women under 17 from purchasing over-the-counter emergency contraception without a prescription, and ordered the FDA to make levonorgestrel-based emergency contraception, such as Plan B, available without age or point of sale restrictions. 

Judge Korman said that the age restriction showed “bad faith and improper political influence,” and wrote, “The decisions of [Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius] with respect to Plan B One-Step…were arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable.”

The judge gave the Food and Drug Administration 30 days to lift the ban.

The American Society of Reproductive Medicine issued a statement in support of the decision, stating, "Restricting over-the-counter access by age has historically been a political decision. We agree with the court that these decisions need to be based on science, not politics.  In the field of reproductive medicine,  politicians too often seek to substitute their judgment for that of physicians and their patients or the scientific evidence. This results in bad medicine and bad policy. Today's decision tells the Federal Government that science should guide policy, and we applaud that stance."