New York Federal Court To Hear Morning After Pill Challenge

The Center for Reproductive Rights and other groups will argue in a New York federal court today that the federal government acted unconstitutionally in holding the morning-after pill to a “different and nonscientific standard,” just days after HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the Food and Drug Administration to limit access to the medication for women under the age of 17.

During an event in New York yesterday, Sebelius defended her ruling, telling reporters, “Actually, it isn’t about politics.” I did not feel that the science supported [making the contraceptive readily available to all ages, because there was a large missing piece of the puzzle,” she insisted.

But Judge Edward Korman “was highly critical of the government’s handling of the issue when he ordered the FDA two years ago to let 17-year-olds obtain the medication” and may be tempted to agree with women’s health advocates who have harshly criticized Sebelius’ decision. They argue that “the science has been solid that the drug is safe and should be available to anyone who needs it” and note that “worries about the use of medicines by teenagers, have not been applied to other products” “such as acetaminophen, and others with known and serious risks, over the counter.”

Teva, the manufacturer of Plan B, has already presented data showing it tested the drug in 11-to-16-year-old girls and has submitted evidence in support of its over-the-counter application at least three separate times.