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Attorney who fought contraception limits hits Obama administration's tactics

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One of the attorneys who successfully sued to make a type of emergency contraception available without age restrictions is crying foul over the Obama administration’s 11th-hour decision to appeal the ruling.

Andrea Costello, of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, also criticized the tactics the government is using in their request for relief from an April 5 order Judge Edward Korman issued in New York to make Plan B One-Step “morning after” pill available to all without a prescription.

The Justice Department announced late Wednesday it will appeal the judge’s order and requested an immediate stay to block its enforcement, effective on Monday. Its decision came one day after the Food and Drug Administration approved an application from the pill’s maker, Teva Women’s Health, Inc., to let girls as young as 15 obtain the drug, one of the three types of emergency contraception, without a prescription. The current age limit is 17.

In a letter to Judge Korman, U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch said the Teva approval was not linked to pending federal case, but noted that all of the plaintiffs in the pending civil case were at least 15, so none of them would be injured by the decision to cut off access at that age.

In a written objection to the notice of appeal, Ms. Costello indicated she isn’t buying the administration’s claims.

She said the administration has been “well aware” of the looming deadline to comply with the court’s order, but instead used the last month to complete its approval of the drug maker’s request to lower the age of access.

“As their papers make clear, they wished to rely on the [application’s approval] to support their stay application to willfully not comply with this Court’s Order,” Ms. Costello wrote.

She also said the government’s urgent request for a stay of last month’s ruling requires the plaintiffs and the court to “act with unreasonable haste.”

“Their argument that plaintiffs, and this court, should now respond immediately is wholly unreasonable,” she wrote.

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