A federal judge last week denied a request to delay his ruling ordering the government to make "Plan B" emergency contraception available to everyone, without restrictions.
In 2011, the FDA approved emergency contraception, also known as the "morning-after" pill or "Plan B", for women of all ages. But the Obama administration stepped in and reversed the decision soon after. "The FDA was reversed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services on the same day in a decision that was politically motivated and that, even without regard to the Secretary's motives, was so unpersuasive as to call into question her good faith," District Court Judge Edward Korman said at the hearing last Tuesday.
The government asked for a stay of Korman's original April 5 ruling ordering them to make the pills available to everyone, saying it and the public would suffer "irreparable harm." Korman called this "silly" and said the appeal was "taken solely to vindicate the improper conduct of the Secretary."
The judge also took issue with the law requiring photo identification to access Plan B. Salon.com's Irin Carmon wrote about Friday's "charged and dramatic two-hour hearing" in detail:
This morning, Korman repeatedly slammed his hand down on the table for emphasis, interrupting the government counsel's every other sentence with assertions like, "You're just playing games here," "You're making an intellectually dishonest argument," "You're basically lying," "This whole thing is a charade," "I'm entitled to say this is a lot of nonsense, am I not?" and "Contrary to the baloney you were giving me ..." He also accused the administration of hypocrisy for opposing voter ID laws but being engaged in the "suppression of the rights of women" with the ID requirement for the drug.
He cited Brennan Center statistics -- which he said Eric Holder had also cited in a speech before the NAACP -- showing that 25 percent of African-Americans of voting age don't have a photo ID, and also dismissed the government's suggestion that 15-year-olds, who usually aren't eligible for a driver's license, could use a birth certificate, since that's not a photo ID. "You're disadvantaging young people, African-Americans, the poor -- that's the policy of the Obama administration?" (He didn't mention it, but immigrants would also face additional barriers.)
"It turns out that the same policies that President Bush followed were followed by President Obama," Judge Korman went on say.
Judge Korman was nominated by President Ronald Reagan in October 1985.