May 7, 2013 — In court papers filed on Monday, the Center for Reproductive Rights urged a federal judge to enforce his ruling that ordered FDA to make emergency contraception available without age or point-of-sale restrictions without delay, the AP/Miami Herald reports (Neumeister, AP/Miami Herald, 5/6).
In an April 5 ruling, U.S. District Judge Edward Korman said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had prioritized politics over science in 2011 by overruling FDA's recommendation that EC be made available to people of all ages without a prescription.
Last week, the Department of Justice appealed the ruling and requested a stay on the court order pending results of the appeal. DOJ argued that a stay is needed "to prevent public uncertainty" about the status of EC availability during the appeal process (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/2).
The judge has said that if he denies DOJ's request for a stay on the initial order, he will issue another order allowing the government time to seek a stay from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/3).
Oral arguments are scheduled for Tuesday. Korman's ruling is set to take effect on Friday (AP/Miami Herald, 5/6).
Arguments in CRR Filing
CRR -- which filed the original lawsuit -- in its latest filing argued that delaying enforcement of the ruling would cause "certain, significant and irreparable" harm to women.
"Women of all ages have waited over 12 years for the removal of arbitrary, capricious and politically motivated restrictions that stand in the way of exercising their fundamental right to access emergency contraception and avoiding unwanted or unintended pregnancy," the group said. CRR added that postponing action for the duration of the appeal "will perpetuate -- for months, or years -- the unconscionable delays that have permeated the defendants' actions with regard to [EC]."
DOJ on Monday declined to comment on the new court papers (AP/Miami Herald, 5/6).