Democrats' efforts to revamp Senate filibuster rules tempered by fears on abortion votes

Some supporters of abortion rights fear that any current changes could be used sometime in the future to restrict the option for women. Meanwhile, an appeal court rules that some morning-after pills should be available over the counter immediately.

Politico: Abortion Emerges As An Issue In Filibuster Fight
As Democrats consider whether to use the so-called nuclear option to rewrite the Senate's filibuster rules, one issue in particular has some liberals worried: abortion. Changing the rules to make it easier to confirm President Barack Obama's executive branch or judicial appointments may help the White House in the short term, and railing against Republican filibusters plays well with the Democratic base. But privately, that base and pro-choice groups are concerned how a future GOP president and Senate could take advantage of the new setup (Everett, 6/6).

NPR: Court Says Some Morning-After Pills Must Be Available OTC Now
A federal appeals court has dealt the Obama administration yet another blow in its quest to keep at least some age restrictions on the sale of emergency contraceptive pills. In a three-paragraph order, a three-judge panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled that although the government's appeal of a lower court decision removing all age restrictions on morning-after pills is still pending, at least some medications must be made available over the counter immediately (Rovner, 6/5).

The New York Times: Judge Orders All Restrictions Lifted On Some 'Morning-After' Pills
A federal appeals court in New York on Wednesday ordered that some types of emergency contraceptives be made available for now to women of all ages without a prescription, adding another layer of confusion to a complex and intensely political fight over the drug's availability (Belluck and Shear, 6/5).

The Associated Press: Court To Allow Girls To Buy Morning-After For Now
A federal appeals court has decided to permit girls of any age to buy generic versions of emergency contraception without prescriptions while the federal government appeals a judge's ruling allowing the sales. The order Wednesday was met with praise from advocates for girls' and women's rights and scorn from social conservatives and other opponents, who argue the drug's availability takes away the rights of parents of girls who could get it without their permission. It is the latest in a series of rulings in a complex back-and-forth over access to the drug (Neumeister and Neergaard, 6/6).

Reuters: U.S. Sale Of Some 'Morning-After' Pills To All Ages Allowed
A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday said that some emergency contraception pills now can be sold over-the-counter without age restrictions while the federal government fights a lower court judge's order allowing unrestricted sales. In a brief order, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the two-pill version of emergency contraception to be sold without limits, including to girls under age 17, saying the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had not met the legal standard to justify limits (Stempel, 6/5).

NBC News: Court Orders FDA To Make Some Plan B Pills Available To All
An appeals court ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday to make certain forms of "morning-after" birth control pills available freely over the counter to anyone who wants to buy them. But the court said the FDA could continue to restrict access to a newer, one-pill formulation called Plan B One-Step while the agency appeals a lower court ruling. The ruling from the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals instructs the FDA to make available two-pill versions of emergency contraception drugs that contain levonorgestrel (Fox, 6/5).

Boston Globe: Ruling Lifts Age Restrictions On Some Emergency Contraception
In a strange twist of events, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that two-pill generic versions of the morning after pill should be immediately made available over the counter, without any age restrictions; the court, though, denied unrestricted sales of the Plan B One-Step product until it determines whether the government's appeal should be upheld. Last month, the federal government appealed a New York state judge's ruling ordering emergency contraception to be made available on drugstore shelves next to condoms and tampons and without any age restrictions (Kotz, 6/5).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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