(CNSNews.com) – A federal judge’s ruling that would allow the abortion-inducing “Morning After Pill” to be purchased over the counter by persons of any age is being met with strong opposition by pro-life groups, which assert that giving the drug to young girls without parental consent or a doctor’s prescription is a dangerous scenario.
"This ruling places the health of young girls at risk,” Anna Higgins, director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council said it a statement. On Friday, Judge Edward R. Korman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York reversed a 2011 decision by the Health and Human Services (HHS) to limit access to the “emergency contraceptive” to young women 17 or older.
Under the HHS directive to the Food and Drug Administration, girls 16 or younger were required to get a prescription for the drug. Korman’s ruling would allow girls of any age to purchase the drug over the counter.
“Making Plan B available for girls under the age of 17 without a prescription flies in the face of medical information and sound judgment,” Higgins said. “I am very troubled that the court has not fully taken into account the concerns expressed by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and many public health advocates that there is not enough data on the health effects of Plan B on young girls.”
“The involvement of parents and medical professionals act as a safeguard for these young girls,” Higgins said. “However, today's ruling removes these commonsense protections.”
“Teen girls need parents, not unfettered access to abortion-inducing drugs,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. “Judge Korman’s decision is reckless and denies girls the protection that comes along with the involvement of parents and doctors.”
“Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights who praised today’s ruling show a complete lack of concern for the health of teens and the rights of parents,” Dannenfelser said.
“This ruling makes no sense,” Carrie Gordon Earll, spokesperson for CitizenLink, a Focus on the Family affiliate, told CNSNews.com. “It gives young girls unsupervised access to a powerful drug without medical oversight or parental knowledge.”
“It puts teenage girls at greater risk to be pressured into sex and provides no way for parents to know if their daughters are using the drug as a routine contraceptive, which the drug manufacturer warns against,” Gordon Earll said.
Abby Johnson, founder of And then Were None, said, "The abortion industry is about profit, not about women's health. The decision on the part of a New York City judge to make Plan B One Step pills available over the counter to anyone is an expansion of this industry and yet another way that women are being deceived by the abortion industry."
"Women need access to authentic healthcare, not over-the-counter abortion-inducing pills, which will only contribute to greater health risks by circumventing proper medical care and put the young at higher risk of sexual exploitation," said Johnson. "We call for this decision to be reversed and hope that all those involved in this industry of deception have the courage to leave."
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, also issued a statement on the ruling, which orders the FDA to lift all restrictions on “Plan B One Step” and its generic counterparts within 30 days.
“A 12-year-old girl in a New York City school cannot be given an aspirin by her teacher, even if she has a fever,” Donohue said. “The same girl cannot buy a large soda during lunch time because Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decreed that it is not good for her.”
“But she can be given a pill, unbeknownst to her parents, that could arguably abort her baby,” Donohue said.
Janet Morana, executive director of Priests for Life, called the judge’s decision “totally irresponsible.”
“I would not want my daughters to be taking medication without a doctor’s consent or my knowledge, Morana said, adding that the decision also flies in the face of those who oppose abortion for moral and religious reasons.
In his ruling, Korman called the HHS directive to the FDA to limit access without a prescription to women 17 or older “political intervention” by the Obama administration, ahead of the 2012 election.
Korman said in his ruling that the HHS directive was a “politically motivated effort to avoid riling religious groups and others opposed to making birth control available to girls.”
The morning-after pill contains a higher dose of the female progestin hormone that is in regular birth control pills and if taken within 72 hours after intercourse, can prevent the fertilized egg from implantation in the uterus.