NEW YORK — A judge on Friday refused to delay enforcement of his decision giving women of all ages broad access to morning-after birth control, calling the government's appeal frivolous, a "silly argument" and an insult to the intelligence of women.
U.S. District Judge Edward Korman in Brooklyn did agree to postpone implementation of his month-old decision until Monday to give the government time to appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan.
"Indeed, in my view, the defendants' appeal is frivolous and is taken for the purpose of delay," Korman wrote. He called the government's reasoning "largely an insult to the intelligence of women."
Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn, said the government was considering its options.
The government had warned that "substantial market confusion" could result if Korman's ruling was enforced while appeals are pending. The judge dismissed the reasoning as a "silly argument."
He blamed the government for any market uncertainty, saying it was responsible for appeals "taken solely to vindicate the improper conduct" of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, "and possibly for the purpose of further delaying greater access to emergency contraceptives for purely political reasons." The Food and Drug Administration was preparing in 2011 to allow over-the-counter sales of the morning-after pill with no agency limits when Sebelius overruled her own scientists in an unprecedented move.
The government announced its appeal last week after the judge on April 5 ordered levonorgestrel-based emergency contraceptives be made available without a prescription, over-the-counter and without point-of-sale or age restrictions.