White House fights Plan B subpoena

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As the Bush White House vigorously resisted a Center for Reproductive Rights subpoena demanding internal documents that might show its involvement in the FDA's review of the emergency contraceptive Plan B, the center released a court deposition in which a key FDA official said it was involved.

FDA deputy director of new drugs Sandra Kweder said in the deposition that the agency's first “non-approvable” decision on Plan B in 2003 was “really rooted in” concerns from the White House and its supporters about two issues: availability to adolescents and, in Kweder's words, that “the public is not ready to have this kind of contraceptive so widely available over the counter, and that it's going to take time for the public to adjust to this idea.”

Kweder's deposition was taken by lawyers suing the FDA in New York federal court for age-unrestricted over-the-counter status for Plan B.

Earlier, the White House formally asserted separation of powers concerns among other arguments in objecting to the center's subpoena. In a letter to the center, Justice Department senior trial counsel John R. Tyler said a Supreme Court ruling that the White House is “unlike any other civil litigant” and that plaintiffs like CRR must “demonstrate a heightened and particularized need for discovery.”

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