By Sam Baker - 05/13/13 05:12 PM EDT
The FDA initially said Plan B could only be sold over the counter to women 17 and older. It has since dropped the age limit to 15.
Judge Edward Korman struck down the age limits, excoriating Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in the process. He noted that the FDA's scientists had planned to remove all age restrictions, but were overruled by Sebelius.
Sebelius's decision was political and not based on any scientific evidence that Plan B is only safe or effective after a certain age, the judge said.
The Justice Department acknowledged the tough criticism as it appealed the decision Monday.
"Although the district court rejected the government’s position in the strongest terms, the court plainly exceeded its jurisdiction," the appeal states.
The FDA asked the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals to block Korman's ruling from taking effect while the agency prepares its appeal. The government said it's likely to win its appeal and should not have to comply with a lower court order that might soon be overturned.