No delay for morning-after pill

By Larry Neumeister

Associated Press

Published: Friday, May 10 2013 10:24 p.m. MDT

This undated image made available by Teva Women's Health shows the packaging for their Plan B One-Step (levonorgestrel) tablet, one of the brands known as the "morning-after pill." The Plan B morning-after pill is moving over-the-counter, a decision announced by the Food and Drug Administration just days before a court-imposed deadline. On April 30, 2013, the FDA lowered to 15 the age at which girls and women can buy the emergency contraceptive without a prescription — and said it no longer has to be kept behind pharmacy counters. Instead, the pill can sit on drugstore shelves just like condoms, but that buyers would have to prove their age at the cash register.

Teva Women's Health, Associated Press

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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.

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