UPDATE: Director Dr. Angela Diaz of Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, New York, has reached out to us with a statement:
“I am in full support of the Plan B ruling. Research shows that 60 percent of young people are sexually active by 12th grade and the more tools we have to help them be responsible, the better. The fact that it’s over the counter does not make people have sex; young people are engaging in this type of behavior regardless, so we need to give them the tools to have better outcomes. We know that when young people get pregnant they are less likely to stay in school. Plan B and contraception help them stay in school and avoid the physiological, emotional, and social consequences of teen pregnancy. We’ve made great progress, but the United States still has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the world.”
Citing an "administrative agency filibuster", a Brooklyn federal district judge ruled today that Plan B, or the morning-after pill, should be available to all who seek it — regardless of their age. Sure to be a controversial decision, this move overturns a 2011 ruling made by the F.D.A. commissioner, which required women seeking the pill under the age of 17 to obtain a prescription, which was often a problem due to the timely nature of the pill's effectiveness.
Judge Edward R. Korman seemed particularly frustrated with the continual delays by the F.D.A., since this case started over a decade ago, writing, "The plaintiffs should not be forced to endure, nor should the agency’s misconduct be rewarded by, an exercise that permits the F.D.A. to engage in further delay and obstruction.” Both doctors within the F.D.A. and in the American Medical Association have concluded that Plan B is safe for over-the-counter consumption, but the decision to make it available for women of all ages was overturned by the Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius two years ago.
The judge has ordered the ban to be lifted and the pill to be available to all ages within the next thirty days. (New York Times)
Photo: Courtesy of Plan B