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Judge rules morning-after pill available to all ages without prescription

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(RNN) – A federal judge has ruled the Federal Food and Drug Administration must make the morning-after pill available over the counter for all ages. Girls age 16 and younger will not require a prescription to obtain the pill.

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed the lawsuit.

Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, praised the ruling.

"Women all over the country will no longer face arbitrary delays and barriers just to get emergency contraception," she said.

The decision overturns Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' 2011 decision to not make the pill available to all ages without a prescription.

The ruling was done by U.S. District Judge Edward Korman who said the FDA's rejection of requests to remove age restrictions to obtain the pill had been "arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable."

Korman wants orders to make the morning-after pill "available without a prescription and without point-of-sale or age restrictions within 30 days."

Known as "Plan-B," the emergency contraception pill can work up to 72 hours after intercourse, according to USA Today. The pill prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus.

The FDA has declined to comment, and has not indicated if they plan to appeal the decision.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommended last year that oral contraceptives be sold over the counter without a prescription in an effort to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies in the United States, according to CNN.

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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