I hope everyone’s having a wonderful Friday. I know I am, partly because of a ruling issued by a federal judge in Brooklyn this morning. He has made the morning after pill available to women of all ages. Here’s the press release we issued this morning.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN AMY PAULIN SUPPORTS DECISION TO MAKE MORNING AFTER PILL AVAILABLE FOR ALL AGES

Brooklyn federal judge Edward Korman helped bring to an end a fight that New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-88th District) has been waging for the better part of a decade when he ordered the Food and Drug Administration to make the morning after pill available to women of all ages even without a prescription.

The pill, Plan B One-Step and its generic counterparts, must be made available to women of all ages within 30 days of Friday’s ruling. Prior to Korman’s ruling, girls 16 and younger could only get the pill with a prescription.

“This is an important breakthrough for women,” Paulin said. “When I heard the news, I felt so excited. I am so happy because this makes such sense. It protects women against unwanted pregnancies. We certainly don’t want teen pregnancies but we haven’t given them a tool to deal with it until now. The federal government has finally put politics aside and addressed the issue of unwanted teen pregnancy in a meaningful way.”

Korman’s ruling, which was handed down Friday morning, ends a long-standing battle between pro choice advocates and politicians who have voted to keep the pill unavailable for reasons that are political, not medical. The 59-page decision took U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to task for overruling the FDA’s decision to allow over-the-counter availability of the emergency contraception to women of all ages in 2011.

The decision, Korman said, was driven by politics in both the Bush and Obama administrations and not scientific evidence. Such was the case in New York in 2005 when then Governor George Pataki vetoed a bill (A.116/S.3661) that would have allowed doctors to prescribe the pill in a non-patient specific way, allowing women of all ages to go into a pharmacy and receive it the same way they receive a flu shot today.

Pataki vetoed the bill on Aug. 4, 2005, the same day it was sent to him by state legislators. The NYS Assembly, led by Paulin, passed the bill that January while the Senate followed suit in June. The bill passed the Assembly in 2006, 2007 and 2008 as well. It has not passed either house since. The bill, which is a Paulin brainchild, was introduced again this year and is still waiting to get out of committee from both houses.

“When the FDA approved the drug for over-the-counter use there was no medical reason given as to why it couldn’t be given to younger women,” Paulin said. “The Obama administration overruled the FDA because it was still politically incorrect to give it to young girls.

“When I first introduced this bill, the leadership thought it was such a strange concept and they were afraid for me politically. They thought I was introducing the wackiest legislation on earth. They were doing it in Washington State, though, and it was very creative to allow doctors to write a non-patient specific script.”

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