March 1, 2016

Saralyn Mark, MD Feedback from TappMD Expert
Saralyn Mark, MD
Sex Education
Education about sexual health should begin at an age where a child can understand and ask questions in a safe and comfortable environment. Women's and girl's reproductive health is important to overall health and well-being and politics should stay out of the decision making.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The morning-after pill might become as easy to buy as aspirin.

In a scathing rebuke accusing the Obama administration of letting election-year politics trump science, a federal judge ruled Friday that there should be no age restrictions on the sale of emergency contraception without a doctor’s prescription.

Today, buyers must prove at the pharmacy that they’re 17 or older; everyone else must see a doctor first. U.S. District Judge Edward Korman of New York blasted the government’s decision on age limits as “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable,” and ordered an end to the restrictions within 30 days.

The Justice Department was evaluating whether to appeal, and spokeswoman Allison Price said there would be a prompt decision.

President Barack Obama had supported the 2011 decision setting age limits, and White House spokesman Jay Carney said Friday the president hasn’t changed his position. “He believes it was the right common-sense approach to this issue,” Carney said.

If the court order stands, Plan B One-Step and its generic versions could move from behind pharmacy counters out to drugstore shelves — ending a decade-plus struggle by women’s groups for easier access to these pills, which can prevent pregnancy if taken soon enough after unprotected sex.

Saying the sales restrictions can make it hard for women of any age to buy the pills, Korman described the administration’s decision, in the year before the 2012 presidential and congressional elections, as “politically motivated, scientifically unjustified and contrary to agency precedent.”

Women’s health specialists hailed the ruling.

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Saralyn Mark, MD

Saralyn Mark, MD, an endocrinologist, geriatrician and women's health specialist, was the first Senior Medical Advisor to the Office on Women's Health within the Department of Health and Human Services for 11 years and to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). As Senior Medical Advisor, Dr. Mark was responsible for the development and analysis of initiatives and programs on emerging technologies, public health preparedness, physician workforce issues, sex and gender-based medicine and women's health on Earth and in Space.

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