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Judge: I'll hear morning-after arguments

A New York federal judge said Tuesday he is willing to hear arguments over whether the Food and Drug Administration should have to allow the over-the-counter sale of emergency contraception to girls younger than 17.

Judge Edward Korman told the Center for Reproductive Rights to file the appropriate legal motions during a hearing on whether the government acted constitutionally in its decisions over the access teenage girls should have to morning-after pills.

The hearing came just a week after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled scientists at the Food and Drug Administration and announced that the pills would only be available without prescription to those 17 and older who can prove their age. President Barack Obama said he supported the decision regarding a pill that can prevent pregnancy if taken soon enough after unprotected sex.

The Center for Reproductive Rights and other groups have argued that contraceptives are being held to a different and non-scientific standard than other drugs and that politics has played a role in decision making. Social conservatives have said the pill is tantamount to abortion. -- AP

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