The US Department of Justice and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [official websites] announced Monday that neither agency will seek to continue the appeal of a ruling [opinion, PDF] that allows women of all ages to access emergency contraception without a prescription. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] refused to stay the ruling [JURIST report] last Wednesday. Judge Edward Korman of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York [official website] ruled [JURIST report] in April that requiring a prescription for women under 16 to obtain the drug commonly known as Plan B [JURIST news archive] was a politically-motivated decision that resulted in arbitrary and capricious action by the FDA. The DOJ initially said it would appeal the decision [JURIST report], arguing the judge overstepped his authority. The FDA announced [press release] after the district court decision that it would comply with over-the-counter sales, but still require proof of age for some forms of the pill.
The decision to drop the appeal comes just weeks after the Obama administration urged [JURIST report] the appeals court to delay implementation of the ruling. After the initial complaint filed by women's rights groups, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) [official website], Kathleen Sebelius [HHS profile], intervened to block the ruling as it related to minors, citing inadequate evidence concerning adverse health effects.