A fight over who can buy the Plan B morning-after pill is back in federal court, and the judge, who ruled earlier that the government must make the emergency contraceptive available to all women, regardless of their age, does not seem receptive to the government's opposition. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Erin Mahoney says women of all ages should be able to walk into their local bodega and pick up the morning-after pill just as easily as they can buy a pack of gum.
"I want the morning-after pill at my fingertips," she said. "I want to be able to access it whenever I need it, without any restrictions. And medically, that should be the case."
She is a plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging the Obama administration's restrictions about who can purchase the emergency contraceptives.
Both sides were back in federal court Tuesday. The government is trying to prevent a judge's ruling in the case from taking effect.
Judge Edward Korman decided last month that any woman or girl should be able to purchase Plan B over-the-counter.
There has been debate about whether girls should be allowed to purchase emergency contraceptives at all without a prescription.
The administration recently decided to allow girls as young as 15 to buy the pill, but lowering the age limit is doing little to appease the judge, who noted repeatedly that women and girls will have to show ID to make the purchase.
Inside the courtroom, the judge aggressively questioned the government's lawyer, and he seemed frustrated by the responses he was getting. At various points, he pounded on the table and shook his finger at the attorney.
The judge said the government's restrictions will harm certain groups of people who may not possess an ID.
He said: "You are basically disadvantaging poor people, young people and African-Americans...That is the policy of the Obama administration?"
"I think the judge's language reflects his frustration and, frankly, his disbelief at what he sees as the ongoing bad-faith conduct by the government and ongoing political maneuvering to deny women access to this product," said Janet Crepps of the Center for Reproductive Rights.
The judge is expected to issue a ruling by the end of the week.