Tag Archives: Ruling
THURSDAY May 2, 2013 — The Obama administration announced late Wednesday that it would appeal a federal judge’s order to eliminate any age restrictions on who can buy morning-after birth control pills without a prescription.
The move follows a Tuesday decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to lower the age at which females can buy the Plan B One-Step morning-after pill — girls age 15 years of age and older will now have access, compared to the prior limit of 17.
With Wednesday’s appeal, the federal government has indicated that it only wants to ease access to emergency contraception by a certain degree, the Associated Press reported.
“Research has shown that access to emergency contraceptive products has the potential to further decrease the rate of unintended pregnancies in the United States,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said in an agency news release.
“The data reviewed by the agency demonstrated that women 15 years of age and older were able to understand how Plan B One-Step works, how to use it properly and that it does not prevent the transmission of a sexually transmitted disease,” she said.
The emergency contraceptive is made by Teva Women’s Health Inc.
To prevent girls under the age of 15 from buying Plan B, the FDA said the product would bear a label stating that proof of age be required, and a special product code would prompt such an inquiry from the cashier. “In addition, Teva has arranged to have a security tag placed on all product cartons to prevent theft,” the FDA noted.
On April 5, Judge Edward Korman, from the Eastern District of New York, gave the FDA 30 days to remove age restrictions on the sale of emergency contraception, such as Plan B One-Step. Until then, girls 16 and younger needed a doctor’s prescription to get the pill, which typically works if taken within 72 hours after intercourse.
Other brands of emergency contraception include Next Choice and Ella.
Wednesday’s appeal by the Justice Department is in keeping with an election-year decision by President Barack Obama’s administration to block the drug’s makers from selling it without a prescription or age restriction. And it reignites the hotly contested debate over emergency contraception, The New York Times reported.
The appeal meshes with the views of numerous conservative, anti-abortion groups that don’t want contraceptives available to young girls. But it clashes with advocates for women’s reproductive health and abortion rights who say years of scientific research found Plan B safe and effective for women of all ages, the Times said.
“Age barriers to emergency contraception are not supported by science, and they should be eliminated,” Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement on Wednesday.
The appeal is the latest development in a 10-year, controversial debate about who should have access to the drug and why.
Plan B prevents implantation of a fertilized egg in a woman’s uterus through use of levonorgestrel, a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone used for decades in birth control pills. Plan B contains 1.5 milligrams of levonorgestrel, more than “the Pill” contains. It is considered a form of birth control, not abortion.
Women’s health advocates praised the FDA decision earlier this week.
“While there are still practical questions to resolve, this is an important step forward to expand access to emergency contraception and for preventing unintended pregnancy,” Planned Parenthood’s Richards said in a news release.
But not everyone was pleased with the push for wider access to Plan B.
Earlier this month, Janice Shaw Crouse — director and senior fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute, a think tank for the conservative women’s group Concerned Women for America — called Korman’s ruling “a political decision, made by those who stand to profit financially from an action that puts ideology ahead of the nation’s girls and young women.”
“It is irresponsible to advocate over-the-counter use of these high-potency drugs, which would make them available to anyone — including those predators who exploit young girls,” Shaw Crouse said.
In his ruling, Korman dismissed the federal government’s earlier arguments and, in particular, previous decisions by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that required girls under 17 to get a prescription for the emergency contraceptive. Korman wrote that Sebelius’ actions “with respect to Plan B One-Step … were arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable.”
In 2011, Sebelius overruled a recommendation by the FDA to make the drug available to all women without a prescription. The FDA said at the time that it had well-supported scientific evidence that Plan B One-Step was a safe and effective way to prevent unintended pregnancy.
Sebelius, however, said she was concerned that very young girls couldn’t properly understand how to use the drug without assistance from an adult.
She invoked her authority under the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and directed FDA Commissioner Hamburg to issue “a complete response letter.” As a result, “the supplement for nonprescription use in females under the age of 17 is not approved,” Hamburg wrote at the time.
The Mayo Clinic has more about emergency contraception.
Posted: May 2013
In a victory for fairness, the Supreme Court ruled that a conviction for marijuana distribution should not result in automatic deportation of noncitizens.
NYT > Marijuana and Medical Marijuana
PHOENIX (Reuters) – A transgender man who made worldwide headlines after he married and gave birth to three children will appeal an Arizona judge’s ruling denying him a divorce from his wife of 10 years, his attorneys said on Tuesday.
Thomas Beatie, 39, was born a woman but began living as a man in his 20s, initiating hormone treatments, undergoing breast-removal surgery and legally changing his name, though he kept his female reproductive organs.
He married his wife, Nancy, in Hawaii in 2003, a year after his double mastectomy, and went on to bear three children, conceived through artificial insemination and donor sperm and Beatie’s own eggs.
He drew worldwide media attention, and stoked public debate about the boundaries of gender identity, when he went public with his first pregnancy during a 2008 guest appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” in which the thinly bearded Beatie was shown undergoing an ultrasound examination.
The birth of his first child, a girl, at an Oregon hospital in July 2008, was announced by People magazine, and Beatie became widely known as “the pregnant man.” His second and third children followed in 2009 and 2010.
Now an Arizona resident, Beatie filed for divorce last year, seeking dissolution of his marriage and hoping to wed his new girlfriend.
Last Friday, Maricopa County Family Court Judge Douglas Gerlach ruled that Beatie had failed in his divorce petition to prove that he was a man when wed in 2003, and thus was unable to show that he and his wife were a heterosexual couple.
Because same-sex marriages are not recognized as valid in Arizona, Gerlach held that he could not grant Beatie a divorce.
The judge on Friday approved a property and custody settlement for the couple, but Beatie said he was pressing ahead for a full-fledged divorce.
“This is not an easy fight, but it’s the right fight,” Beatie said at a press conference in Phoenix, accompanied by his attorneys and his girlfriend.
“I’m standing (up) for my identity and my ability to have biological children. It doesn’t make me any less of a man … I’m a man, I’m a husband and a father,” he added.
Beatie, who held hands with his girlfriend while speaking, said the divorce is vitally important to his children and any additional offspring he may have in the future.
Growing up in Hawaii as a girl – his given name was Tracy Lagondino – Beatie had joined the Girl Scouts and even entered a teen beauty pageant before embarking on his gender conversion, taking testosterone injections and flattening his chest.
He ultimately changed his gender on his passport and driver’s license, and was recognized as a man under Oregon state law. But like many individuals who identify themselves as transgender men, or “transmen,” Beatie opted not to remove his ovaries and other female reproductive organs he was born with.
His spouse, about 10 years his senior, already had two grown daughters from a prior marriage was no longer able to become pregnant because of a hysterectomy. To prepare for his pregnancies, Beatie halted his hormone injections and resumed menstruating.
When Beatie filed for divorce last year, the judge questioned whether he had jurisdiction since Arizona only recognizes marriages between a man and a woman.
In his long-awaited ruling last week, Gerlach said he lacked adequate information about whether Beatie was a transgender male when the marriage license was originally issued in Hawaii.
“Thus, it is not necessary to, and this order does not decide, whether Arizona law allows a person who was born a female to marry another female after first undergoing a sex change operation,” the judge wrote.
He added that equating a double mastectomy to a sex change operation would be a problem under state law.
“If adopted, (it) would lead to circumstances in which a person’s sex can become a matter of whim and not a matter of any reasonable, objective standard or policy, which is precisely the kind of absurd result the law abhors.”
Beatie attorney David Michael Cantor said the judgment was riddled with errors and that he is confident the judge’s order will be overturned.
“We’re not going to stand for this,” Cantor said. “The judge has made it sound as if Thomas did something wrong.”
He said he could seek review by the Arizona Court of Appeals or possibly the U.S. Supreme Court.
(Editing by Tim Gaynor, Steve Gorman and Lisa Shumaker)
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Despite growing evidence that marijuana is more than just a buzz-drug, a federal appeals court rejected an attempt to reclassify pot as a medically recognized substance.
The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today voted 2-1 to agree with lower courts that “adequate and well-controlled studies” do not exist to support the legitimacy of medical marijuana.
As it stands then, marijuana will remain a federal outlaw drug with no recognized uses — worse than cocaine in the federal government’s eyes.
The ruling won’t help those states like California that have legalized medical pot, as federal authorities can still cite its schedule I status and crackdown.
Joe Elford, chief counsel for plaintiff Americans for Safe Access:
To deny that sufficient evidence is lacking on the medical efficacy of marijuana is to ignore a mountain of well-documented studies that conclude otherwise. The Court has unfortunately agreed with the Obama Administration’s unreasonably raised bar on what qualifies as an ‘adequate and well-controlled’ study, thereby continuing their game of ‘Gotcha.’
ASA says it might appeal all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The group states:
ASA has consistently argued that the more than 200 peer-reviewed studies cited in the legal briefs adequately meet this standard [for legal, medical status].
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A Superior Court judge ruled today in the dispensary case concerning the applicant in the Sun City CHAA. The judge ordered the county to begin processing the required zoning paperwork. This was the only application for this area, so the next step for the applicant is to submit to us a completed application including the zoning paperwork from the county. The Department will process this application the same as the other 98 applications.