WASHINGTON — The morning-after pill might become as easy to buy as aspirin.
In a scathing rebuke accusing the Obama administration of letting election-year politics trump science, a federal judge ruled Friday that women of any age should be able to buy emergency contraception without a doctor’s prescription.
Today, women can do that only if they prove at the pharmacy that they’re 17 or older; everyone else must see a doctor first. U.S. District Judge Edward Korman of New York blasted the government’s decision on age limits as “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable,” and ordered an end to the restrictions within 30 days.
The Justice Department was evaluating whether to appeal, and spokeswoman Allison Price said there would be a prompt decision.
President Barack Obama had supported the 2011 decision setting age limits, and White House spokesman Jay Carney said Friday the president hasn’t changed his position.
“He believes it was the right common-sense approach to this issue,” Carney said.
If the court order stands, Plan B One-Step and its generic versions could move from behind pharmacy counters out to drugstore shelves — ending a decade-plus struggle by women’s groups for easier access to these pills, which can prevent pregnancy if taken soon enough after unprotected sex.
Read more in Saturday’s Arizona Daily Star and at azstarnet.com