Brooklyn, NY – Judge Orders ‘Contraception Pills’ Available Without A Prescription For All Ages

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Photo: APNew York – A federal judge on Friday ordered the Food and Drug Administration to make “morning-after” emergency contraception pills available without a prescription to all girls of reproductive age.

The ruling is a victory for reproductive-rights groups that had sought to remove age and other restrictions on emergency contraception.

Currently, only women age 17 or older can obtain emergency contraception pills without a prescription. Point-of-sale restrictions require that all women present identification to a pharmacist before obtaining the drug.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Edward Korman said the FDA’s rejection of requests to remove age restrictions to obtain the pill was “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable.”

FDA spokeswoman Erica Jefferson declined to comment on the ruling, saying it was an ongoing legal matter.

The Center for Reproductive Rights and other groups had petitioned the FDA to strike down age and access limits on all emergency contraceptives, saying there was no scientific proof that girls younger than 17 could not safely use the drug without supervision.

Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, hailed the ruling. “Women all over the country will no longer face arbitrary delays and barriers just to get emergency contraception,” she said.

Teva Pharmaceuticals Ltd’s Plan B in 1999 became the first emergency contraceptive available for prescription use in the United States. The company also markets Plan B One-Step, a one-pill version of Plan B.

Teva had also petitioned the government to allow sales of Plan B One-Step over the counter without restrictions.

In 2011, the FDA said it had concluded Plan B One-Step could be safely used in girls of child-bearing age. But U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, in an unprecedented move, overruled the FDA and said that there was insufficient evidence to support removing the restrictions.

Several days later, the FDA also rejected the petition to lower restrictions on all emergency contraceptives.

In Friday’s ruling, Korman blasted the agencies’ justification for their decisions, calling it “an excuse to deprive the overwhelming majority of women of their rights to obtain contraceptives without unjustified and burdensome restrictions.”

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20 COMMENTS

    • They are for a number of reasons.

      1) Before 40 days abortion is muttar. Im not saying we encourage it, but its definitely allowed. The gemara says that until 40 days the fetus is just water, and we pasken that abortion until that point is allowed.

      2) Even if that were not the case, “morning after pills” prevent sperm from fertilizing the egg (which takes about 3 days, and why you have to take the medication within 3 days). Because there has been no fertilization, everyone would have to agree that there is no living thing, and therefore its not abortion.

      3) The only issue would potentially be that you have sichvas zerah levatalah. However, maybe poskim hold that this is not a problem with birth control pills since even though you can’t have a child, it is being done in the normal way. Additionally here it would be different since when you original had the haschavas zerah it was not levatalah and only later is it lemafraeh going to be wasted. Also, that is only an issur on a man, and it would be a women who would be taking the pill, so I’m not even sure if the issur of shichvas zerah would apply at all.

    • You have?!?!?! Which rov worth his salt would say that carte blanche? Don’t have the chutzpah to come on to VIN and pasken for the world that baby murder is mutar without being in complete and total consultation with a posek!

      • Any ran who knows any halacha.

        There is no reason for these not to be muttar. We are not catholics who believe that anything related to contraception is assur.

        While a rov might tell someone its inappropriate to use such medication, no Rov worth his salt could say that this drug actually assur.

        • But Rush Hindenburg, Mark Witless Levin and Sean Justin Volpe’s Defender Hannitty already paskened it is MURDER.

          How dare any Rav argue with someone as big an entertainer as His Hotairness, the Great Nitwit Mark Levin???!!!

        • Wrong, these pills (which are simply high dose standard contraceptive pills) prevent implantation of the fertilized egg into/into the uterine wall. They dont prevent fertilization.

  1. I respectfully disagree with anyone who claims that abortion within the first 40 days after conception is muttar. There are many prominent poskim who would disagree.

    Also, the morning-after pill seems to work by preventing fertilization, an act which may be considered abortion by some poskim. Consult your qualified LOR or rely on the poskim on this website to decide, as you choose.

    There is also a big problem of encouraging znus and lowering even further our societal standards. Remember that a non-Yid who performs any act of abortion is chayav misa.

    • Please name one posek who says preventing fertilization is abortion and is therefore assur, because there is no basis in halacha for such a statement. You would have to make 2 huge chidushim, that are against all halachic sources (the first that a abortion before 40 days is assur, and the second that preventing fertilization is abortion)

      Again, I agree that a posek may have other reasons for saying that we can’t use these pills (zneus or shichvas zerah), and I am in no way saying anyone can use them, but they are not related to the halacha of abortion being the murder of a child. That is not a jewish concept.

      It just has to be made clear that we are not christians and we do not believe in the same things as them. A lot of frum jews seem to be very confused and think the catholic church and halacha agree on this issue. I think its important to set the record straight, that even if Jews can’t use these pills, its not because of any halacha regarding abortion, or some idea that a fetus is considered a person (or that even an egg and sperm are a person). That is a christian idea, and most certainly not a jewish one.

      • A lot of frum Jews need to get back to the beit midrash. The Jewish position on abortion is very different, and much more lenient, than the position of the Catholic church.

    • “a non-Yid who performs any act of abortion is chayav misa”

      While a non-Jew is chayav misa for an impermissible abortion, the gemara in Sanhedrin rules definitively that there is nothing permitted to Jews that is forbidden to non-Jews. Hence the same leniencies for abortion (mutar within first 40 days according to most poskim, permitted to save life of the mother according to all opinions, permitted in the case of a fetal abnormality according to many) would apply to non-Jews as well.

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