The surprising move by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius ahead of the 2012 election, backed by the White House, overruled the Food and Drug Administration's recommendation that emergency contraception such as Plan B One-Step be made available without a prescription for girls 16 and under. FDA said its conclusion was the product of broad scientific evidence.
Judge Korman said Sebelius' move to overrule FDA was fraught with "a strong showing of bad faith and improper political influence."
The judge's decision puts the Obama administration in a bind between sticking to its guns by appealing, and reversing its stance just 16 months later and siding with women's advocates who praised Korman for the ruling.
"Today's ruling highlights the importance of Food and Drug Administration regulations being based on science, not politics," said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), supporting the judge. "Increasing access to obtain a safe and effective product they may need to prevent an unintended pregnancy is an essential part of basic health care."
In separate statements Friday, the National Organization For Women and NARAL Pro-Choice America also praised Korman's decision.
By mid-afternoon Friday, the Obama administration had not yet revealed its intentions.
"The Department of Justice is reviewing the appellate options and expects to act promptly," said Allison Price, a spokesperson for the Justice Department.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Obama's position "has not changed" and that he continues to believe Sebelius' made "the right decision" on the morning-after pill.
"The president believes it is a common-sense approach when it comes to Plan B and its availability over the counter for girls over 16," Carney said. "This is under review by the Department of Justice. I expect they will be making decisions about options."
Read the judge's full decision below.