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Government appeals sale of 'morning-after drug' to girls

| Monday, May 13, 2013, 7:42 p.m.

NEW YORK — The Obama administration on Monday filed a last-minute appeal to delay the sale of the morning-after contraceptive pill to girls of any age without a prescription.

The legal paperwork asked the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan to postpone a federal judge's ruling that eliminated age limits on the pill while the government appeals the decision.

U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman has said politics were behind efforts by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to block the unrestricted sale of the Plan B One-Step morning-after pill and its generic competitors. Last month, he ordered that the emergency contraceptives be made available without prescription and without age restrictions. He then denied a request to postpone his ruling while the government appealed but gave it until Monday to appeal again.

The judge said he ruled against the government “because the secretary's action was politically motivated, scientifically unjustified and contrary to agency precedent.”

Government attorneys warned of “substantial market confusion” if the ruling is enforced while appeals are pending. Attorneys for the Center for Reproductive Rights have said in court papers that every day the ruling is not enforced is “life-altering” to some women. The appeals court will take up the issue May 28 and said the ruling remains postponed.

Sales of the emergency contraception had previously been limited to those who were at least 17.

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