warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Federal Judge Lifts Age Limits On Plan B Contraceptives

Jeremy Fuster |
April 5, 2013 | 2:55 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer


(meddygarnet/Creative Commons)
(meddygarnet/Creative Commons)
A federal judge ruled Friday that the government must make "morning-after" contraceptives, also known as Plan B, available over-the-counter for all ages within the next 30 days.  The ruling came in response to a move made in 2011 by the Obama administration's Health and Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, who refused to make the contraceptives available for girls 16 and younger without a prescription.


In the 59-page document explaining the ruling, Judge Edward Korman attacked Sebelius for her decision, saying it was "politically motivated, scientifically unjustified, and contrary to agency precedent." Korman made similar comments in 2009, when he ordered the FDA to reconsider its 2006 decision to deny over-the-counter access of Plan B to minors. He accused the FDA of allowing the Bush administration to influence its decision.

SEE ALSO | Obama Offers Exemption On Birth Control Mandate

Two years later, the FDA finished its review and declared Plan B safe for use by women of all ages. Sebelius overruled the FDA's new decision, saying that Plan B's manufacturer, Teva Pharmaceuticals, did not study whether the pill would be safe for preteen girls. Korman described the move as "arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable." According to The Washington Post, Korman was appointed by Ronald Reagan and served in the Justice Department under Richard Nixon.


Plan B is a single pill that can block fertilization if taken within 72 hours after intercourse. According to The New York Times, several medical organizations have supported over-the-counter sale of the pill, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.      

Reach Executive Producer Jeremy Fuster here or follow him on Twitter 



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.