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N.Y. judge urged to enact birth control ruling

Advocates cite ‘irreparable’ harm to women

The government argued Judge Edward Korman exceeded his authority.

The government argued Judge Edward Korman exceeded his authority.

NEW YORK — Reproductive rights advocates urged a judge Monday to let teenage girls buy morning-after birth control without a prescription beginning this week, saying to delay enforcement of his ruling while the government appeals would cause ‘‘certain, significant, and irreparable’’ harm to women.

The US Justice Department last week requested that it be given time to appeal last month’s ruling by US District Judge Edward Korman in Brooklyn.

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It said the judge exceeded his authority when he said women of any age could buy both Plan B and cheaper generic alternatives as easily as they might buy aspirin.

In papers of their own, lawyers for the Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed the lawsuit, said every day that the ruling does not get enforced is ‘‘life-altering’’ to some women.

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‘‘Woman 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 lawyers said. ‘‘The harm to plaintiffs, and the women whose interests they represent, will be certain, significant, and irreparable.’’

The Justice Department declined through a spokeswoman Monday to comment on the new court papers.

Korman has scheduled a hearing Tuesday to hear oral arguments on the government’s request. His order is supposed to take effect Friday.

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Last week, the Food and Drug Administration loosened its restrictions on the Plan B One-Step morning-after pill, saying it can be sold without a prescription to those 15 and older.

Previously, those sales were limited to teenagers who were at least 17.

In asking Korman to freeze his ruling until after appeals play out, the Justice Department had argued that ‘‘substantial market confusion’’ could otherwise result.

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