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April 5, 2013 / Press Releases

Judge’s Decision on Emergency Contraception a Victory for Sound Science

April 5, 2013

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Washington, D.C. – Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, commended a federal judge’s ruling that requires the government to follow medical experts’ advice on the availability of emergency contraception.

Judge Edward Korman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York ruled that the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services must adhere to scientific standards and make emergency contraception available without an age restriction.

“Experts like the American Academy of Pediatrics long ago agreed that this medication should be available for women of all ages,” Hogue said. “Judge Korman’s ruling is an affirmation that policy can and should be driven by facts and by public health. For years, women have had to jump through hoops because officials in Washington played politics with our health. Today’s ruling brings us one step closer to putting women in control of our destinies.”

By removing the prescription requirements for women under age 17, this ruling also clears a de facto hurdle for all women. Since there was an age restriction, all women previously needed to get the medicine from a pharmacist – whether or not their age meant they needed a prescription from a doctor. Hogue cited situations where young women – including rape survivors – face fear, shame and intimidation about asking for the medicine from a pharmacist.

“This change means that emergency contraception’s promise as a tool to help a woman prevent unintended pregnancy could finally become reality,” Hogue said. “Nevertheless, we expect anti-choice, anti-birth-control politicians and their allies to attack the judge’s decision. They will only further reinforce their hypocrisy, as improving access to contraception is the best way to reduce the need for abortion.”

NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates are dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all Americans. NARAL works to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. In recognition of its work defending our constitutional right to choose, Fortune Magazine described NARAL as “one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America.”


Everyone should be able to decide if, when, how, and with whom they start or grow a family.

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