The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

April 5, 2013

Judge lifts age restriction on 'morning after' pill

FDA rules called unreasonable

(Continued)

NEW YORK —

The judge said the FDA decided after 11 months, 47,000 public comments and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars spent, that it did not need rulemaking on the subject.

"The plaintiffs should not be forced to endure, nor should the agency's misconduct be rewarded by, an exercise that permits the FDA to engage in further delay and obstruction," he wrote.

He said the case isn't about the potential misuse of the morning-after pill by 11-year-olds. He said the contraceptives would be among the safest drugs sold over-the-counter and the number of 11-year-olds likely to use the drugs was minuscule.

Four years ago, Korman was highly critical of the government's handling of the issue when he ordered the FDA to let 17-year-olds obtain the medication. At the time, he accused the government of letting "political considerations, delays and implausible justifications for decision-making" cloud the approval process.

Andrea Costello, an attorney with the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, called it "a landmark decision in terms of providing women and girls in the United States access to a safe and effective form of birth control."

F. Franklin Amanat, a lawyer for the government, said the Department of Justice has no immediate comment.

"We are reviewing the decision and evaluating the government's options," he said.

White House press secretary Jay Carney referred reporters' questions on the legal ruling to the Department of Justice during a Friday afternoon press conference. However, he added that the president supported Secretary Sebelius' earlier decision, and his position has not changed.

"He believes it was the right, common sense approach," said Carney.

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