It has been nearly 10 years since the Food and Drug Administration recommended that the emergency contraception drug Plan B be approved for over-the-counter sale without age restrictions. Yet, until Wednesday, the drug was available without prescription only to women 17 and older.
The FDA has now decided to lower the restricted age to 15, a puzzling move given that, legally, there can be no age restriction at all. This according to Federal District Court Judge Edward R. Korman, who on April 5 ordered the FDA to follow its own policies and findings, which show that the pill is safe and effective and should be available over the counter regardless of age. On Thursday the Obama administration announced that it would appeal the ruling, a decision that makes little practical sense and one that threatens to undermine the separation of powers between Congress and the president, a core element of our system of government.