The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reduced the age requirement for purchasing emergency contraception Tuesday from 17-years-old to 15-years-old. Not only was the age lowered, but the administration agreed for the morning-after pill, Plan B One-Step, to be sold openly on drugstore shelves.
President Barack Obama expressed Thursday at a news conference that he was comfortable the FDA's decision. When the move was appealed Wednesday, reproductive rights groups criticized it and said politics was the motive behind it.
"We are profoundly disappointed. This appeal takes away the promise of all women having timely access to emergency contraception," Interim President & CEO of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project Susannah Baruch said. It's unclear if the Justice Department's appeal will prevail over the FDA.
As AP reported, U.S. District Judge Edward Korman issued an order that would let women and girls of to not only purchase Plan B, but also a cheaper generic morning after pill. The Justice Department's filed appeal said that Korman's decision should be suspended during the appeal process and if not could result in "substantial market confusion, harming FDA's and the public's interest".
"It is especially troubling in light of the Food and Drug Administration's move yesterday to continue age restrictions and ID requirements, despite a court order to make emergency contraception accessible for women of all ages. Both announcements, particularly in tandem, highlight the administration's corner-cutting on women's health. It's a sad day for women's health when politics prevails," said Baruch.
The appeal would mean only Plan B-One Step would still be available on the shelves of drugstores while the case is being settled. The Justice Department said that drugstores could receive conflicting orders about what is allowed to be purchased by consumers if Korman's ruling isn't suspended for now.
"The prevention of unwanted pregnancy, particularly in adolescents, should not be obstructed by politicians," president of the National Organization for Women, Terry O'Neill said. She added that it was a "step backwards for women's health." Last week, Obama addressed Planned Parenthood members and supported women making their own decisions when it comes to their own health.