Court Orders FDA to Remove All Restrictions on the Morning-After Pill

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Today, a U.S. federal judge ordered that the Morning-After Pill be made available "without a prescription and without point-of-sale or age restrictions within thirty days."


Judge Edward R. Korman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued his Memorandum Opinion and Order in Tummino v. Hamburg which reversed a prior decision by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS).

Judge Korman found that "[t]hese emergency contraceptives would be among the safest drugs sold over-the-counter." 

Citing the Obama administration's "unjustified departures" from established policy to make safe medications available to the public, the court found that the administration invoked arguments that were an "excuse to deprive the overwhelming majority of women of their right to obtain contraceptives without unjustified and burdensome restrictions."

Referring to "political interference" from the White House, the judge stated "the motivation for [Secretary Sebelius'] action was obviously political. … [I]t was an election year decision that 'many public health experts saw as a politically motivated effort to avoid riling religious groups and others opposed to making birth control available to girls.'" 

For over a decade, grassroots feminist activists with National Women’s Liberation (NWL) – who include the lead Plaintiffs in the Tummino case – have been waging the most important fight on expanding access to birth control in decades in the United States: to make the Morning-After Pill available over-the counter without any restrictions on age or how it can be sold. Today’s ruling is a significant victory in the fight for reproductive rights.


continue to source article at defendwomensrights.org

17 COMMENTS

  1. Wonder how this will go over in North Dakota. Will folks be popping these like vitamins to make sure they don’t end up in a situation where they might run afoul of the 6 week limit? Any ideas on the risks or side effects from prolonged, repeated use or are they safer that birth control pills?

    • This is just awesome. :)

      In reply to #1 by whiteraven:

      Wonder how this will go over in North Dakota. Will folks be popping these like vitamins to make sure they don’t end up in a situation where they might run afoul of the 6 week limit? Any ideas on the risks or side effects from prolonged, repeated use or are they safer that birth control pills?

      Why would North Dakotans be popping birth control like vitamins? ô_o

    • In reply to #1 by whiteraven:

      Wonder how this will go over in North Dakota. Will folks be popping these like vitamins to make sure they don’t end up in a situation where they might run afoul of the 6 week limit? Any ideas on the risks or side effects from prolonged, repeated use or are they safer that birth control pills?

      LMGTFY

      Michael

    • In reply to #1 by whiteraven:

      Wonder how this will go over in North Dakota. Will folks be popping these like vitamins to make sure they don’t end up in a situation where they might run afoul of the 6 week limit? Any ideas on the risks or side effects from prolonged, repeated use or are they safer that birth control pills?

      What the…?

    • Thank you Judge Korman – very nice to hear this.

      From the UK NHS patient info website: (http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/contraception-guide/Pages/emergency-contraception.aspx)

      The 2nd generation morning-after pills (or should that be 3-day-after pills? – ideally not) work by progesterone modulation. Levonorgestrel (Plan-B, Levonelle and others) can mess with other steroid levels in the body, ulipristal (ellaOne) less so but interacts with more other medications e.g. antibiotics and antacids. So not a reliable long-term option. If nothing else, the immediate side effects (cramps etc.) compared to regular low-dose combined or progesterone-only pills arent appealing.

      Not being from North Dakota, I don’t know the law there regarding instituting contraception without parental consent or how hard it is to get at all (in whatever form). Although, if you’re only got 6 weeks to figure things out, i.e. barely one missed period, then I can understand the relief at having a back-up option.

      Any ideas from the floor why IUDs and IUSs are still so unpopular? They work well (best?), last years and you can’t forget to take them!

      In reply to #1 by whiteraven:

      Wonder how this will go over in North Dakota. Will folks be popping these like vitamins to make sure they don’t end up in a situation where they might run afoul of the 6 week limit? Any ideas on the risks or side effects from prolonged, repeated use or are they safer that birth control pills?

  2. Surely the pills will be shelved behind the counter at the pharmacy and you will need to ask for it. My guess is that many pharmacies will respond that they are out of the product or the product will be kept beyond its expiration date in an attempt to derail this decision. How will a 14-year-old deal with these games while she is already in a vulnerable position? This is not over yet.

    • In reply to #6 by QuestioningKat:

      Surely the pills will be shelved behind the counter at the pharmacy and you will need to ask for it. My guess is that many pharmacies will respond that they are out of the product or the product will be kept beyond its expiration date in an attempt to derail this decision.

      How will a 14-year-old deal with these games while she is already in a vulnerable position? This is not over yet.

      The obvious way is the way UK pharmacists deal with it. Those who want the business, put up notices in their doorways, saying the service is available.

    • In reply to #6 by QuestioningKat:

      Surely the pills will be shelved behind the counter at the pharmacy and you will need to ask for it. My guess is that many pharmacies will respond that they are out of the product or the product will be kept beyond its expiration date in an attempt to derail this decision. How will a 14-year-old deal with these games while she is already in a vulnerable position? This is not over yet.

      That is amazing – I cannot believe how backward the US is. They’re available in all family planning clinics, all chemists and on certain days of the week in some schools here. But you do need to ask and the provider has to have relevant training – to ensure no real contra indications. And if all else is closed A&E will supply them as well. But nobody would refuse them at all. If they did it would be headline news and a real scandal.

      Sometimes it is very hard to believe just how governed by religion America still is. Things we take for granted as a right in the UK you can’t.

  3. Citing the Obama administration’s “unjustified departures” [...] an election year decision[...] politically motivated effort to avoid riling religious groups and others opposed to making birth control available to girls.’”

    Wow. That one slipped under the radar. Don’t remember hearing a thing about that. Judge Edward R. Korman made entirely the right decision here.

  4. I’m losing faith with Obama and his decision to appease the religious right. However, I’m delighted to witness the “poke in the eye” given to the religious right – wing nut cases by a conscientious judge.

  5. I think it’s safe to presume that early 20th century women advocates/pioneers of reproductive rights would feel gratified.

    without having to ask a doctor or pharmacist for permission

    As someone said – that itself puts the brakes on girls seeking help. Cut out the middle (wo)man!!

  6. Great, and there ought to be many other drugs made available over the counter as well.

    I ought to be able to choose which drugs I require and buy them as needed, without having to consult a medical doctor and lining his/her pockets for the privilege.

    • In reply to #16 by tyga:

      Great, and there ought to be many other drugs made available over the counter as well.

      I ought to be able to choose which drugs I require and buy them as needed, without having to consult a medical doctor and lining his/her pockets for the privilege.

      tyga, which sort of drugs would you have derestricted? In the case of emergency contraception, I agree the choice to use it belongs entirely the female in question as it directly affects nobody but herself.

      If there is a chance of adverse affect to others e.g. self-prescribing of antibiotics leading to increased local bacterial resistance (or delayed diagnosis because it’s completely the wrong treatment) I would suggest a medical professional is there for a purpose. Note that I am not referring to drugs with ‘recreational’ potential as in this case, I regard it as the individual’s choice again unless one transgresses in its pursuit or under its influence, in which case Golden Rule applies.

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