The Obama administration announced late Wednesday that they'll fight a federal ruling that would make Plan B One-Step available to all women of reproductive age, without a prescription. The move comes less than a month after the U.S. district court ruling and only days before the Sunday deadline for the order to take effect.
The White House's appeal isn't exactly surprising: Earlier on Wednesday, the administration lifted some restrictions on the sale of Plan B — but not enough to meet the judge's requirements, indicating that the new rules in place could be an attempt to find a political compromise on the issue. Based on a request by the emergency contraceptive's manufacturer, the pill will sit on pharmacy shelves (previously, you'd have to request the drug from a pharmacist), and the age restriction will drop from 17 to 15. An ID will still be required for purchase. As Amanda Marcotte noted over on XX Factor yesterday, that move is definitely an improvement over current rules (and makes it easier for men to buy the pill, which they are legally allowed to do), but isn't close to what the judge ordered. For one thing, how many 15-year-olds have a valid, government-issued ID, Marcotte asks.
There's also another thing that the new, looser restrictions will do, as the Washington Post notes: It'll weaken the specific case that led to the April order. Every plaintiff in that case is 15 or older, so they're now legally able to buy Plan B. In their appeal, the Justice Department argues that the order "interferes with and thereby undermines the regulatory procedures governing the FDA's drug approval process."