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Federal Judge Orders FDA to Broaden Access to Emergency Contraception

In a landmark decision on April 5, 2013, a federal judge ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to lift longstanding restrictions that impede and delay women's access to emergency contraception.

U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman ordered the FDA to make levonorgestrel-based emergency contraception available over-the-counter without age or point of sale restriction-citing the actions by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as "politically motivated, scientifically unjustified, and contrary to agency precedent."

The defendants sought a request to stay this decision but were denied on May 10, 2013, and they dismissed their appeal of the April 5 order to the Second Circuit on July 23, 2013 after Judge Korman approved the FDA’s proposal to allow Plan B One-Step to be sold over-the-counter.