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Final Day for U.S. Government to File Appeal Against NY Plan B Measure

Update Date: May 13, 2013 09:59 AM EDT
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Today will be the last day for the Justice Department to attempt to stop the Plan B measure that was proposed by Judge Edward R. Korman of the United States District Court for the Easter District of New York from being enforced. Korman, who demanded that the popular Plan B contraceptive be widely available for all girls without a prescription, stated that Monday would be the final day for government lawyers to find a way to stay the measure. Judge Korman originally planned for the enforcement of his order to take place last Friday, but postponed that date to give the lawyers at the Justice Department time to hand in the delay request to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. If the government cannot successfully suspend Judge Korman's order, Plan B would become readily available after today.

In a 17-page long opinion piece, Judge Korman blasted officials, particularly, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, for relying of raw politics as opposed to scientific evidence in determining whether or not Plan B should be accessible for all girls.

"If a stay is granted, it will allow the bad-faith, politically motivated decision of Secretary Sebelius, who lacks any medical or scientific expertise, to prevail - thus justifiably undermining the public's confidence in the drug approval process," Judge Korman wrote. In 2011, Sebelius blocked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) decision to allow the sales of Plan B without a prescription. Sebelius revised the order and enforced the rule that only 17 and over women could purchase the product over the counter without a prescription. The FDA recently changed the age limit to 15-years-old and over in a hearing last week, which Judge Korman also disagreed with, sticking to his month-long proposal to make Plan B widely available for all girls and women.

Judge Korman added that government officials' attempts to delay his order are filled with unreasonable and insulting explanations. One of the arguments that the government has cited was the possibility of confusing women over the availability of Plan B. The government explained that if its lawyers were to win the appeals, Plan B would once again be taken off the market for young girls, which could confuse them about the availability of the product.  Judge Korman responded by stating that this argument was "largely an insult to the intelligence of women."

In the meantime, whether or not Plan B will be available for all girls and women awaits the end of the day.

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