A federal judge in Brooklyn is poised to hear arguments Tuesday over whether the federal government is acting constitutionally in its decisions over the access teenage girls are given to morning-after contraceptive pills.
The arguments come just a week after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled scientists at the Food and Drug Administration and announced that the pills would only be available without prescription to those 17 and older who can prove their age. President Barack Obama said he supported the decision regarding a pill that can prevent pregnancy if taken soon enough after unprotected sex.
The Center for Reproductive Rights and other groups have argued that contraceptives are being held to a different and non-scientific standard than other drugs and that politics has played a role in decision making. Social conservatives have said the pill is tantamount to abortion.
Judge Edward Korman was highly critical of the government's handling of the issue when he ordered the FDA two years ago to let 17-year-olds obtain the medication. At the time, he accused the government of letting "political considerations, delays and implausible justifications for decision-making" cloud the approval process.