Federal District Court Judge Edward R. Korman ordered the Food and Drug Administration to lift all age and sale restrictions on the most common morning-after pill, Plan B One-Step, and its generic versions.
Until now, the pill was only available by prescription to those under 17 years old. The F.D.A. was given 30 days to make the pill universally available over the counter.
The decision comes after a decade of disagreement over who should have access to the pill, at what age, and for what reasons. In 2011, Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius very publicly overruled a recommendation by the F.D.A. to make the pill available for all ages without a prescription.
Judge Korman addressed this in his decision. "In light of the overwhelming evidence of political pressure underlying the [F.D.A.]’s actions, I [...] remanded for the agency to exercise its discretion without impermissible political intrusion."
Major medical groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics and even scientists at the F.D.A. have been recommending unrestricted access for several years. Judge Korman accused the federal government of “bad faith.”
“More than 12 years have passed since the citizen petition was filed and 8 years since this lawsuit commenced. The F.D.A. has engaged in intolerable delays in processing the petition. Indeed, it could accurately be described as an administrative agency filibuster.”