U.S. District Judge Edward Korman did not take well to the Obama administration’s appeal of the judge’s recent order to lift all age restrictions on the Plan B “morning-after pill.” In his original ruling last month, Korman chided the administration for its “political interference” into the FDA’s recommendation to allow women of all ages to obtain emergency contraception without a prescription. On Tuesday, the federal judge did not hesitate to express his displeasure once again, calling the Justice Department’s appeal “a charade.”
During a hearing in Brooklyn, Korman accused the administration of trying to “sugarcoat this appeal of yours” to hide their true attempt to stall the court order. Though the court’s ruling is not expected until the end of the week, Korman made his outrage over the “total and complete corruption of the administrative process” quite clear:
When the government lawyer argued that delaying Korman’s order while it was on appeal was in the public interest, the judge responded, “Is there a public interest in unwanted pregnancies … that can often result in abortions?”
The judge also expressed outrage at another provision under the new FDA rules that would require government-issued photo identification to get the pills, placing an “impossible burden” on disadvantaged people without IDs.
“The poor, the young and African-Americans are going to be put in the position of not having access to this drug,” he said.
Making the same point earlier, he asked, “Is that the policy of the Obama administration?”
Korman also speculated that the FDA’s new policy restricting Plan B for girls under 15 instead of under 17 was intended to undermine his ruling, which would have removed all limits on the drug’s availability this week. Indeed, the Obama administration’s apparently arbitrary age limits have no basis in scientific research. Multiple studies have found Plan B to be safer than even aspirin for all ages. Moreover, making women prove their age before buying Plan B creates an unnecessary burden for undocumented women and teens who don’t have government-issued documents. Women’s advocacy organizations erupted in protest over Obama’s decision to appeal the court order to remove these limits.