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Pro-Abortion Group Sues FDA to Expand Access to Plan B Drug

Reproductive rights advocates filed a follow-up lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to end age restrictions on Plan B contraception.

On Tuesday, the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a motion of contempt against the FDA for limiting over the counter access to emergency contraceptive Plan B to those ages 18 and over. The lawsuit is a follow-up to a 2009 U.S. District Court ruling ordering the agency to reconsider its policy to allow teens as young as 14 to purchase Plan B.

"The FDA has had ample time, countless opportunities and overwhelming scientific evidence put before it to make a decision on Plan B," CRR President Nancy Northup said in a statement.

Northup also criticized President Barack Obama and his administration for playing politics instead of urging the FDA to stop restricting access to the drug.

Christian leaders and pro-family groups have long feared that increased access to contraceptives for minors will undercut the family.

Southern Baptist Richard Land commented after the District Court ruling, "In most schools, a 17-year-old girl can't get an aspirin from the school nurse without parental permission, but she can buy an [abortion] drug over the counter without a prescription or without parental notification in order to kill her potential child."

Pro-life groups such as the Family Research Council have deemed emergency contraceptives abortion pills. In an earlier interview with The Christian Post, FRC Director Jeanne Monahan stated, "Emergency contraceptives … act as an abortion drug because they prevent implantation in most cases."

Still Pro-choice advocates tout information asserting emergency contraceptives' safety.

"All of the scientific facts are there and FDA experts agree emergency contraception has proven safe and effective to be sold over-the-counter to all ages," boosts Suzanne Novak, lead counsel in the case.

Before Tuesday's lawsuit, the center originally filed a citizen petition in 2001 on behalf of over 70 medical and public health organizations, asking the FDA to grant emergency contraception over-the-counter status. When the FDA refused to rule on the petition, the CRR filed a lawsuit in 2005 in federal court.

In 2009, the court ruled that the agency had acted in "bad faith and in response to political pressure" when it delayed making a decision on Plan B. The CRR contends that age restriction is politically motivated.

Soon after the ruling, the FDA reported that it intended to make a final decision on the drug's availability to women under the age of 17. But this year, the agency admitted that it does not plan to reconsider its restrictions.

Novak alleges that the FDA is "stonewalling" the inevitable and urges the agency to "follow the science, and make emergency contraception available without a prescription to women of all ages."

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