The Court Decides: Little Girls Can Buy “Plan B”

Another chapter in the convoluted history of Plan B in the United States: a federal judge has ordered the US Food and Drug Administration to make the “morning after” pill available to girls under 17 without a prescription.

It is a ruling which the Obama Administration no doubt finds congenial, although it was Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius who instructed the FDA to impose the ban in December 2011. US District Judge Edward Korman, in Brooklyn, now describes her decision as “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable”. “The motivation for the secretary’s action was obviously political,” he wrote in his decision.

At the time, President Obama’s campaign for re-election was under way. If the FDA had gone ahead with its plan to allow Plan B to be sold to all girls without age limits, he would have been vulnerable to Republican jibes that he was ignoring family values. Mr Obama declared that he strongly supported the restriction, even though his own supporters interpreted it as the triumph of politics over science.

“The reason Kathleen made this decision is that she could not be confident that a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old going to a drugstore should be able — alongside bubble gum or batteries — be able to buy a medication that potentially, if not used properly, could have an adverse effect,” Mr Obama declared at the time. “And I think most parents would probably feel the same way.”

But almost no one thought that he really believed this.

“This may be a free pass for them,” said Lars Noah, a professor at the University of Florida College of Law told Reuters. “You can say, ‘our hands were tied, we were forced to cave in.’ Whatever the political calculus is, I’d be shocked if they appealed this. They are probably just going to walk away from this one, and maybe thank their lucky stars this is how they got to the right outcome.”

Abortion rights groups hailed the court’s decision. “Women all over the country will no longer face arbitrary delays and barriers just to get emergency contraception,” said Nancy Northup, of the Center for Reproductive Rights. Opponents said that it would promote criminal activity. “When these are right out there with the bubble gum, they’re going to be part of the date rape cocktail,” said Karen Brauer, president of Pharmacists for Life.


This article originally published at

Michael Cook


Michael Cook likes bad puns, bushwalking and black coffee. He did a BA at Harvard University in the US where it was good for networking, but moved to Sydney where it wasn’t. He also did a PhD on an obscure corner of Australian literature. He has worked as a book editor and magazine editor and has published articles in magazines and newspapers in the US, the UK and Australia.

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  • Michael Matthew

    Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.

  • Michael Matthew

    From Humanae Vitae

  • JMC

    This is as bad as laws requiring vaccinations. Yes, those laws are bad, simply because there are people who cannot tolerate vaccinations because of allergies. I know. I’m one of them, and recently ditched a doctor who kept trying to force the Pneumovax on me despite my replies that amounted to “What part of al-ler-gy don’t you understand?” Young girls don’t know enough about their own bodies yet to recognize signs of adverse reaction, or to know what to do when they occur. This is a catastrophic move by the courts, and one more move toward undermining parents’ authority.

  • Karen Word

    “COULD have an adverse affect?” I’m pretty sure that if the girl is pregnant, it most assuredly will have an adverse affect on the life within her.

  • Pauline Hampshire

    So now there will be more kids susceptible to sexual diseases who won’t worry if they don’t have a condom because they can just take a pill the next day…!!

  • Lee

    Well, come on moms and dads lets get in this fight about who is going to take care of our children. Why should you be frigid about blurting out the truth about sexual behaviors with your children, when others go out of their way to take over your job and ruin the lives of your loved ones right under your nose. Save your children’s lives from being filled with poor health and sin. God bless parents who will stand up for their rights and the Truth.

  • Juan

    John Kerry said the American people have a right to be stupid.Prove him right!

  • Victoria

    I wonder how many young girls will have to die before they rethink this insanity?
    Actually, I thought Mr. Obama believed plan B was a lousy idea for young girls to have access to, because he has young daughters. He’s not a monster, he surely loves his daughters and would not wish anything like this on them.
    But he has no backbone.

  • That Was Then

    How many little girls have $50.00 burning in their little pockets, since that is how much Plan B costs? How many would even know that there is such a drug? Why are the authorities not concerned about the side effects of this powerful drug, which could potentially put these girls at risk?