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Emergency contraception (a.k.a. EC, ECP, "Morning After" Pill)

Developments during the year 2001

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Developments during 2001:

bullet2001-MAY-15: USA: ACOG may recommend that women keep emergency contraceptive prescription available: According to Focus on the Family,  Dr. Thomas Purdon, head of the 40,000 member American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), suggests that the group's members routinely issue prescriptions of emergency contraceptives to women patients of child-bearing age. Obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. David Hager opposes the suggestion: "I think it will add to individuals being sexually active without using a mechanism of contraception, which potentially not only increases the risk of pregnancy, but also sexually transmitted infections." 1 It is doubtful that many women would use these pills as a contraceptive. Emergency contraception medication have two overwhelming deficiencies if used as routine contraception: At this time, The woman would have to get a new prescription from their physician after each sexual act. Also, the pills produce nausea in most women -- sometimes lasting over a day.
bullet2001-JUN-4: USA & Canada: "Over the counter" studies: Pilot studies are underway in the state of Washington, province of British Columbia, and city of Toronto, ON. Pharmacists offer emergency contraceptive pills over the counter without a prescription, but after careful screening by the pharmacist. Pharmacists will also counsel women on getting "adequate and appropriate" birth control. Pills are now available at 40 pharmacies in the Toronto area.
bullet2001-SEP-21: CA: Morning after pills to be more accessible: Currently, emergency contraception medication requires a woman to get a prescription from a physician. Bill SB 1169 was introduced by Sen. Dede Alpert, (D-San Diego) and has passed through the California legislature. If signed into law, it  would allow pharmacists to sell the medication over-the-counter. Since the pills must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse, speed is very important. Experience has shown that they are safe. Focus on the Family, a Fundamentalist Christian group, complains that this law would "put women and girls at higher risk for disease and sexual health problems." 2
bullet2001-OCT-12: USA: Anti-emergency contraception amendment pulled: Representative Melissa Hart (R-PA) proposed an amendment to the massive $123 billion spending bill for federal education, health and labor programs. It would have terminated all federal aid to any school which dispensed emergency contraception to students. House Republican leaders asked her to withdraw the amendment in order to assure quick passage of the bill. They promised her a stand-alone vote on the proposal next year. This medication is believed to be currently available in 180 schools across the U.S. 3
bullet2001-OCT-12: Korea: Government institute supports emergency contraception: The Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (KIHASA), a government think-tank on health issues, announced that it supports the importation of emergency contraceptive medication. KIHASA researcher Cho Jae-kuk said: "The opinions of religious and other groups who oppose the sales of emergency contraceptives on ethical and health grounds should be respected. However, in consideration of the high rate of abortion in the nation and examples of other countries, we believe that Korea's introduction of emergency contraceptives is appropriate." 4
bullet2001-OCT-15: CA: Governor signs bill into law: Bill SB 1169 passed by the California legislature and mentioned above in the 2001-SEP-21 listing, has been signed into law by Governor Gray Davis. According to a San Francisco newspaper:

"Women's health advocates are heralding the decision as an important one with sweeping implications for both the national and social landscape as other states are expected to follow California's example. Health experts believe that having better access to emergency contraception could halve the number of unintended pregnancies in the United States -- about 6.3 million a year, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute -- and substantially reduce the U.S. [current] abortion rate of one in every four pregnancies.  'I think it's a wonderful women's health initiative. Accidents happen,'' said Diane Lamotte, senior pharmacist at the Cowell Student Health Center at the University of California-Santa Cruz. The health center is one of several sites around the state that have participated in a pilot program allowing pharmacists to counsel women and give them the pills with a doctor's involvement."

The law took effect in 2002-JAN. Plan B and Preven became readily available to all women in California, 24 hours a day, as some pharmacies stay open around the clock. 5

bullet 2001-DEC-31, midnight: CA: Emergency contraception available: The law which allows pharmacists to dispense EC came into effect. It was sponsored by the Public Health Institute of California and endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the California Pharmacists Association, the California Medical Association and other public health organizations.

"Earlier this year, more than 60 medical, public health and women's groups signed a petition urging the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to switch emergency contraception pills to nonprescription status." 6

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  1. Stuart Shepard, "ACOG touts 'emergency contraception'," Focus on the Family, at: http://www.family.org/cforum/fnif/news/A0015958.html
  2. "California Lawmakers Assault Families," Focus on the Family, at: http://www.family.org/cforum/state/
  3. "Vitter gives up plans to offer controversial anti-abortion bill; Measure falls short in House panel vote," The Times Picayune, 2001-OCT-12, at: http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/washington/
  4. Kim Min-hee, "Gov't think-tank backs import of 'morning-after' pill," The Korea Herald, at: http://www.koreaherald.co.kr  
  5. Julie Severens Lyons, "Law makes morning-after pill available without prescription: PHARMACIES WILL BE ABLE TO DISPENSE EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTIVES," The Mercury News, 2001-OCT-16, at: http://www0.mercurycenter.com/premium/ (This was a temporary listing, and is no longer online)
  6. "California to sell morning-after pill Jan 1," Japan Today, at: http://www.japantoday.com/e/

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Site navigation: Home > "Hot" topics > Abortion > Reducing abortionEC menu > here

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Copyright © 2001 to 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2007-JUN-23
Author: B.A. Robinson

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