Great news: The Morning After pill, otherwise known as Plan B, will now be available over the counter to women age 17 and up. Brooklyn Federal Judge Edward R. Korman told the FDA they need to make the change in 30 days – and to strongly consider making Plan B available to women of all ages without a prescription.
FYI - Plan B is not an abortion pill! The drug consists of two pills that prevent conception if taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse. It would be great if every sexually-active woman had one dose at the ready, just in case. But unfortunately at $50+ it's pretty pricey.
In his ruling, Judge Korman described the horrible ways the Bush administration messed with the FDA's business. From the NY Times:
Judge Korman wrote that officials of the agency had repeatedly delayed action on the petition, moving only when members of Congress threatened to hold up confirmation hearings on acting F.D.A. commissioners. Several officials also violated the agency’s own policies, he wrote.
Citing depositions, Judge Korman wrote that agency officials had improperly communicated with White House officials about Plan B. And, he said, F.D.A. employees sought to influence decisions by appointing people with anti-abortion views to an independent panel of experts reviewing Plan B for the agency.
The agency also departed from its normal procedures, the judge wrote, by ignoring favorable conclusions about the drug by an advisory panel as well its own scientists and officials who found that the drug could be safely used by women at least as young as 17.
Such “political considerations, delays and implausible justifications” showed that the F.D.A. had acted without good faith or reasoned decision making, Judge Korman wrote.