Pregnancy Pill at Center of Federal Showdown

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A judge is set to hear arguments Tuesday about whether the federal government has the right to restrict teenage girls' access to a generic version of Plan B, also known as the "morning after" pill.

U.S. District Judge Edward R. Korman will hear the legal arguments. He is the Brooklyn, N.Y., judge who ordered the Food and Drug Administration to allow 17-year-olds to obtain the medication two years ago.

Tuesday's hearing comes one week after a request to lower the age requirement for women seeking to purchase the emergency contraceptive was rejected.

The Health and Human Services secretary overruled FDA experts on the matter, saying that only those 17 years old and older could buy the emergency contraceptive without a prescription.

"It is common knowledge that there are significant cognitive and behavioral differences between older adolescent girls and the youngest girls of reproductive age," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement on Dec. 7.

"I do not believe enough data were presented to support the application to make Plan B One-Step available over the counter for all girls of reproductive age," she added.

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