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Judge Orders FDA to Lift Age Restrictions on Morning-After Pill

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A federal judge in New York on Friday ordered the Food and Drug Administration to lift longstanding restrictions on emergency contraception.

Plan B, commonly known as the morning-after pill, has been proven safe and effective for all ages.  Therefore, U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman says, it should be available over the counter for all ages.

Currently, emergency contraception is available over the counter for women 17 and older; girls 16 and younger need a prescription.

In his ruling, Korman was careful to steer clear of issues involving teen sex and abortion.  He said he made the decision based solely on the pill’s safety.

“The standards are the same for aspirin and for contraceptives,” Korman wrote in his ruling.  “I decide this case based only on my understanding of the applicable standard.”

Responding to the judge's decision, Nancy Northup, the president and CEO for the Center for Reproductive Rights, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said "science has finally prevailed over politics."

"This landmark court decision has struck a huge blow to the deep-seated discrimination that has for too long denied women access to a full range of safe and effective birth control methods," Northup said.

"Women all over the country will no longer face arbitrary delays and barriers just to get emergency contraception.  It’s a true victory for all women, especially young women, women without government-issued identification, and those who live in areas with limited pharmacy hours," she continued.

When reached by ABC News, the FDA said this is an ongoing legal matter and did not comment.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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