Administration appeals judge's order on Plan B access
By Adelaide Mena
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the 2013 Planned Parenthood National Conference April 26, 2013
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the 2013 Planned Parenthood National Conference April 26, 2013

.- The Obama administration filed an appeal notice Wednesday to challenge a judge’s decision requiring that the morning-after pill be available without a prescription to girls of any age.

The Department of Justice is contesting the decision of U.S. District Judge Edward R. Korman on the grounds that “the remedies that the judge ordered were beyond his authority,” according to a Justice Department official who spoke to the New York Times anonymously.

The judge had ruled in April that the FDA must make the morning-after pill, Plan B One Step, available over-the-counter with no age restrictions.

While the FDA had initially recommended this policy change, it was overruled by Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, in December 2011.

Sebelius argued that there was not enough information to prove that the drug would be safe for use by younger girls and noted “significant cognitive and behavioral differences” between older adolescent girls and those that are in their pre-teen or early teen years.

The judge challenged Sebelius’ decision, saying that it was too political. He ordered the FDA to change its policy and remove all age limitations on the morning-after pill.

The drug levonorgestrel, the active ingredient in Plan B and its generic versions, is called the “morning-after-pill” because of its ability to prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation following a sexual encounter.

However, the drug’s label warns that if ovulation has already occurred, Plan B can also prevent implantation in the mother’s womb, thereby ending the life of the already-created human embryo.

The appeal by the Obama administration will not state a suggested age limit for access to the morning-after pill, but will instead simply argue that the judge did not have the authority to place the specific policy demand on the FDA.

“The public interest will not be served by reclassification of drugs as non-prescription by order of a court, without appropriate agency decision-making procedures being followed,” wrote U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch in a letter to the judge.

The appeal announcement will not affect the new rule unveiled by the FDA the previous day to lower the age of over-the-counter access to Plan B from 17 to 15 year of age. The decision is independent of the judge’s orders and does not fully comply with them because it does not entirely remove all age restrictions.

Critics have warned that the decision to lower the age of access will recklessly allow young teenage girls to obtain a powerful and potentially dangerous drug being provided without parental permission or notification. They have noted that the morning-after pill has been associated with cancer, blood clots, heart attacks and stroke, as well as higher risks of ectopic pregnancy.

In addition, concerns have been raised over the lack of studies about the drug’s effects on girls during puberty, as well as its potential to be used to cover up sexual abuse and to cause early abortions.

Some opponents of the new rule warned that it may encourage risky behavior, as many teens may not be mature enough to understand that the morning-after pill should not be used routinely as a contraceptive and does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.

Abortion advocacy groups including NARAL Pro-Choice and the Center for Reproductive Rights also criticized the new policy, saying that it did not go far enough. These groups have pushed for all restrictions on the drug to be lifted, allowing children of any age to purchase it over-the-counter without parental notification or consent.

Tags: Abortion, Emergency contraception, Morning after pill

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 20, 2014


All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:13-35


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Second Reading:: Col 3:1-4
Gospel:: Jn 20:1-9

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:13-35


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: