Federal Judges Strikes Age Restrictions for Plan B Over the Counter
U.S. District Judge Edward Korman ruled on Friday morning that the morning-after-pill or "Plan B" must be made available over the counter for any girl, regardless of her age. The decision comes as part of a lawsuit against the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by reproductive rights organizations to remove the age and sales restrictions on emergency contraception.
Judge Korman stated in his opinion that the FDA's refusal to lift restrictions was "arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable." "More than 12 years have passed since the citizen petition was filed and 8 years since this lawsuit commenced," the judge wrote. "The F.D.A. has engaged in intolerable delays in processing the petition. Indeed, it could accurately be described as an administrative agency filibuster." He continued, "The plaintiffs should not be forced to endure, nor should the agency's misconduct be rewarded by, an exercise that permits the F.D.A. to engage in further delay and obstruction." He ordered the FDA to lift any age and sales restrictions on Plan B within 30 days.
Nancy Northrup of the Center for Reproductive Rights applauded the judge's decision: "Women all over the country will no longer face arbitrary delays and barriers just to get emergency contraception," she said.
Media Resources: CBS 4/5/2013; New York Times 4/5/2013; Reuters 4/5/2013
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .