Federal judge rules Plan B contraception must be available for teenage girls

In what’s being hailed as a landmark decision for women’s reproductive freedom, a federal magistrate yesterday ruled that the so called “morning-after” pill must be made available to females 13 or over, without parental consent.

Brooklyn Federal Judge Edward Korman said the contraceptive sold under the brand “Plan B” is among the safest drugs available over the counter. He said President Obama’s administration, and particularly U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, chose politics over public interest when they enacted a policy banning the medication’s sale to young women under 18.

Korman’s decision would allow girls 13 and older to purchase the contraceptives.

“This is a real triumph for women and men of all ages,” NARAL New York said in a statement. “With (Plan B) available on the pharmacy shelf, this safe, reliable form of contraception will be accessible when it is most needed.”

The case dates back to 2005, when the Center for Reproductive Rights filed suit in Brooklyn Federal Court after the Bush administration denied women of all ages over-the-counter access to Plan B. The FDA later relaxed that policy, permitting sale of the pills to women 18 and older.

In 2009, Korman ruled that 17-year-olds should have access to Plan B without a prescription. He ordered the Obama administration to consider expanding access to women of all ages.

The FDA agreed in 2011, but Sebelius overruled their decision.

Plan B alters hormone levels that signal to a woman’s body when to release eggs for fertilization. The drug essentially places eggs on hold.

Right-wing Christians contend that the availability of such drugs encourages teenage girls to engage in sexual promiscuity. Their movement seeks to ban all forms of female contraception so that women will be deterred from having sex due to fear of pregnancy – or will be punished for having sex out of wedlock by being forced to endure an unwanted pregnancy and then become saddled with an unwanted child.

Pro-choice advocates say that banning female contraception takes away women’s ability to regulate their bodies and results in millions of unwanted pregnancies that are not only costly to taxypayers but are also responsible for many of the ills in contemporary society.

Young males 18-24 commit the majority of crimes in the United States. Studies have shown that crime rates in the nation began falling 18 years after the Supreme Court ruled to make abortion legal in 1973. Crime rates then plummeted in 1995.

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