- Obama downplays IRS scandal, blames Obamacare rollout on ‘outdated’ agencies
- Pregnancies decline overall, up among older women
- Pentagon plans to destroy Syrian chemical arms on ship at sea
- Paris Metro issues ‘politeness manual’ to improve passengers’ behavior
- Justin Bieber, crew detained at Australian airport in drug search
- Lee Rigby trial: Muslim who machete-hacked soldier calls it ‘humane’ kill
- GM ending Chevy sales in Europe to focus on Opel and Vauxhall
- Putin’s diplomats to U.S. busted for living high life off $1.5M bilked from Medicaid
- Happy Meal: Couple goes to McDonald’s, leaves with bag packed with cash
- Boehner: It took me 3 to 4 hours to sign up for Obamacare
Judge strikes down age restrictions on ‘morning-after’ pill
Administration policy called ‘obviously political’
A federal judge’s rebuke of how the Obama administration tried to restrict young teenage girls’ access to morning-after pills opened a new vein in a festering debate over emergency contraception, which conservative critics equate with abortion.
Only this time, pro-life groups trod along narrow common ground with the Democratic president they have sparred with for years because of a mandate in his signature health care law that requires most employers to insure a broad spectrum of contraceptive drugs.
U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman on Friday said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made an “obviously political” decision in 2011 — one year before President Obama’s re-election — to prohibit the sale of Plan B One-Step and its generic forms to girls younger than 17 unless they had a prescription.
In a blunt 59-page decision, he ordered the Food and Drug Administration to lift the age restriction within 30 days.
Pro-life groups have railed against the Obama administration for requiring faith-based nonprofits and corporations with religiously devout owners to insure contraception — including morning-after pills — under the Affordable Care Act. Dozens of lawsuits have been filed to contest the mandate, which may be headed for the Supreme Court.
Yet news of Judge Korman’s decision to broaden teen girls’ access to emergency contraception found pro-life groups aligned with the White House — at least for a moment. The Susan B. Anthony List condemned the ruling, noting Mr. Obama and Mrs. Sebelius had “agreed that requiring a prescription for potentially dangerous drugs is common sense.”
Judge Korman’s unfavorable reading of Mrs. Sebelius‘ actions focused on a 2011 memo to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg that described “significant cognitive and behavioral differences” between older adolescents and girls just entering their reproductive years.
The directive from HHS amounted to an unprecedented override of the FDA, which had supported expanded access to Plan B and its associated drugs. Yet the judge also accused the latter agency of dragging its feet.
“The FDA has engaged in intolerable delays in processing the petition,” he wrote. “Indeed, it could accurately be described as an administrative agency filibuster.”
HHS referred requests for comment on the ruling to the Department of Justice, although an official said the agency’s “concern always has been and remains the health of young women nationwide.”
“The Department of Justice is reviewing the appellate options and expects to act promptly,” spokeswoman Allison Price said.
The drug’s manufacturer, Teva Pharmaceuticals, also said it is reviewing the decision and has no immediate comment.
Yet Judge Korman’s decision for the Eastern District of New York reopens debate around a genre of drugs that has been in the political spotlight for years, particularly with the passage of Mr. Obama’s health care reforms. Last month, a bloc of House conservatives gathered with religious figures to unveil a bill that would exempt employers from the contraception mandate within “Obamacare” if it violates their religious freedoms or conscience.
Opponents of Mr. Obama’s mandate take particular exception to emergency drugs such as Plan B and Ella, which they refer to as “abortifacients” because of their reported capacity to distort the lining of the uterus.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- House Speaker John Boehner: It took me 3 to 4 hours to sign up for Obamacare
- Young millennials shun Obamacare, creating risky imbalance
- Almost 1.5 million deemed eligible for Medicaid in October alone: Obama administration
- Federal judge set to decide Obamacare battle over subsidies
- Diagnosis: Health site better, but needs work
Latest Blog Entries
- Calif.: Give 'gift of health' by pledging cash for the uninsured
- Tensions hit boiling point over Obamacare enrollment figures, error rates
- Young, uninsured adults vital to Obamacare are not keen on enrolling: New Harvard poll
- Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox will promote Obamacare at Mall of America
- HealthCare.gov employs a new look once again
Why such hatred toward America's freedom of religion?
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality: liberal group
- U.S. drops 2,000 mice on Guam by parachute to kill snakes
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- Activists encourage Obama to circumvent Congress, use more executive authority
- CARSON: Getting to the top by starting at the bottom
- Obama returns to class warfare as poll numbers plunge
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- U.S. debt jumps a record $328 billion tops $17 trillion for first time
- Hack attack: 2 million Facebook, Twitter passwords stolen
- American teacher shot and killed at Benghazi international school
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
Understanding economic events with a free market explanation
John Wood illustrates a new American politics, and the path to get there.
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
White House pets gone wild!