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NEW YORK — The Center for Reproductive Rights on Wednesday asked a federal court to reopen its 2005 lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration for imposing age restrictions on emergency contraceptive drugs. Presently, emergency contraceptives, like Plan B One Step, are available behind a pharmacy counter for women 17 years and older but require a prescription for women under the age of 17 years.
The center also requested the addition of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as a defendant in the reopened case for her role in recently overruling the FDA’s decision to approve Plan B One-Step for over-the-counter status in December 2011.
“After 10 years of stalling and putting politics before science, it is time to bring emergency contraception out from behind the pharmacy counter,” stated Nancy Northup, president and CEO for the Center for Reproductive Rights. “HHS’s actions on emergency contraception have been arbitrary and legally unjustifiable.”
In related news, Republicans on the campaign trail have blasted the Obama administration for a new law that takes effect this year that requires most private insurers to pay for birth control, including emergency contraceptives. Religious groups have been given an extra year to comply.
And the Food and Drug Administration is investigating a vending machine stocked with the Plan B emergency contraceptive located at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, according to an Associated Press report. Shippensburg officials noted that access to the vending machine in the student health center is restricted, the AP reported.