by Jeremy Leaming
In a bleak era of state and federal lawmakers striving to dictate to women on health care concerns, primarily centering on birth control, a federal court today offered a respite. It ruled that the federal government must stop making it difficult for young women to get access to emergency contraception.
U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman found that the FDA’s refusal to remove restrictions on the availability of Plan B, a medication to help prevent pregnancy, was “arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable.”
The Atlantic’s James Hamblin notes that “leaders in the FDA have advocated” the availability of the drug for some time now. “In 2011, FDA commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg concluded that it was safe to sell Plan B One-Step over the counter. The American Medical Association, Americans Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and American Academy of Pediatrics have since endorsed unrestricted access to emergency contraception.”
But, in a move reminiscent of the George W. Bush administration’s disdain for science, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius last year ignored the FDA’s recommendation and held that young women could not get access to Plan B without a prescription.
Judge Korman blasted Sebelius’ decision as revealing “a strong showing of bad faith and improper political influence,” TPM’s Sahil Kapur reports.
President of NARAL Pro-Choice American Ilyse Hogue lauded Korman’s decision, saying it is an “affirmation that policy can and should be driven by facts and by public health. For years, women have had to jump through hoops because officials in Washington played politics with our health. Today’s ruling brings us one step closer to putting women in control of our destinies.”
It’s also a court ruling that will undoubtedly be attacked by the rabid and righteous groups bent on controlling certain health care decisions that should be left solely to women.