SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Minnesotans are divided in their reactions to the ruling of Federal Judge in New York about the so-called "morning after pill." Judge Edward Korman of Brooklyn ruled that pharmacies must make the drug available to women of any age, over the counter, within 30 days.
The ruling is a repudiation of the position of U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, who had overruled her own FDA director to restrict over the counter dispensing of the drug only to women 17 or older. Judge Korman's 59-page ruling called the Sebelius stand "an administrative agency filibuster."
"We think this ruling is long over-due," said Jennifer Aulwes, Spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of Minnesota and the Dakotas. "We are thrilled by it."
University of Saint Thomas Law Professor Teresa Collett was concerned about making the drug easy for girls as young as 11 to obtain without permission or a prescription. She is concerned about the long-term effects of the drug on minors. Judge Korman wrote that the "number of 11 year olds using these drugs is likely to be miniscule."
"He (Korman) is now making it available, in the words of President Obama, right next to the bubble gum and the batteries and that is a problem," said Collett. "I am very troubled by this. I do not think it advances the interests of young girls."
"About 44% of pregnancies in Minnesota are unintended," said Aulwes. "This will give women of all ages another opportunity to prevent an unintended pregnancy. It is supported by all the scientific evidence that says that women of all ages of capable of using emergency contraception correctly in order to prevent an unintended pregnancy."
Aulwes insisted that the public should understand that the morning after pill is not an abortion. In fact, if a woman is pregnant, the drug will have no effect on her. The goal of the drug is to prevent conception. It is mainly effective only if used within 72 hours of the unintended or unprotected sex.
The Obama Administration has not yet commented on whether or not it will appeal Judge Korman's ruling.
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