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.