The Food and Drug Administration will have to make emergency contraception available to girls under 17 years old without a prescription.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Edward Korman ordered the agency to repeal its earlier decision that the “morning after pill” would only be available to women under the age of 17 with a prescription. That policy provoked a lawsuit by reproductive rights advocates. In his finding, the judge called the FDA policy “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable,” NBC News noted.
In 2011, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius rejected a recommendation to make emergency contraception available to women regardless of age without a prescription. The move drew an angry outcry from women’s groups.
The judge’s order will become effective in 30 days. Emergency contraceptives based on levonorgestel are covered by the ruling and will be available without restriction to women, regardless of age.
Pro-life advocates attacked the ruling, arguing that it lessened parental involvement in young women’s decision-making.