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

Developments during the year 2002

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Developments during 2002:

bullet 2002-JAN-7: USA: Bill would ban EC in public high schools: Representative Melissa Hart (R-PA) has introduced a bill to the House that would ban emergency contraception in public schools. She believes that distributing medication to minors in schools violates parents' rights. More than 180 public schools offer EC in their clinics. 1

bullet 2002-MAR-6: USA: Emergency Contraception Education Act introduced:  Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congressperson Louise Slaughter (D-NY) introduced the Emergency Contraceptive Education Act into the Senate and House. It would direct federal health agencies to create a public education campaign to raise consciousness of emergency contraceptive.
bullet 2002-MAR-18: UK: Emergency contraception to be distributed for free: Teenage girls will be given free emergency contraceptive pills as part of a pilot program by 20 pharmacies near Bristol.

bullet 2002-MAR-20: USA: Groups sponsor "Back up your Birth Control Day:"The American Civil Liberties Union and a coalition of medical groups and women's health advocates are promoting "Back up your Birth Control Day." They recommend that all women ask their physicians for a dose of EC to keep in their homes in case of need. With the refusal of Wal-Mart to fill doctor's prescriptions for EC, and with many pharmacies closed on weekends and holidays, many women can find it difficult to obtain EC quickly when they need it. The ACLU urges legislators today to increase access to EC for rape survivors by requiring all emergency rooms to offer EC to these women during their initial exam. Many hospitals affiliated with religious institutions refuse to even refer women to a provider of EC. 2

bullet 2002-MAR-27: CA: Governor orders HMOs to cover EC costs: Governor Gray Davis (D-CA) ordered the Department of Managed Health Care to inform all HMO's in California that they must cover the cost of "morning-after" contraceptives. In 1999, Governor Davis signed a bill into law which required HMOs to cover federally approved contraceptives. In 2001, he signed another bill that permits pharmacists to provide emergency contraception. 3

bullet 2002-MAR-28: CA: Fundamentalist Christian group criticizes Governor Davis: Concerned Women for America (CWA) spokespersons in California and Washington blasted Governor Gray Davis for requiring that HMOs within the state cover the costs of emergency contraception. The CWA calls it "an abortion pill," which is incorrect because if pregnancy has begun, the pill has no effect. They explain that the pill prevents "implantation in the womb of a human being." ** Wendy Wright, senior policy director of CWA, said: "The 'morning after pill' is a human pesticide."

bullet 2002-JUN-3: World: Pro-life groups criticize the Pentagon for making EC available: The Pentagon does not mandate that its 76 military hospitals and more than 500 health clinics stock EC. Army Maj. Steve Stover said "It's basically up to the individual pharmacy, and it's not just the Army, it's a DoD policy that's been in use for years."

Robert Maginnis, vice president of the Family Research Council, said: "As far as we're concerned it causes an abortion to take place. It kills a human embryo."  The web site of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL), says that much of the opposition to EC pills "arises from the mistaken belief that ECPs cause abortion. ECPs, however, do not disrupt an established pregnancy, which begins with implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterine lining....Rather, ECPs delay or inhibit ovulation or implantation prior to pregnancy and therefore, do not cause abortion." ** Wendy Wright, spokesperson for Concerned Women for America, said that the availability of EC encourages illicit sexual activity among armed forces personnel. She said: "That breaks down morale, it breaks down discipline and it's activity that the military should be explicitly trying to prevent, not facilitate." 4


bullet 2002-JUL-23: World: President Bush redirects grant: The U.S. Congress had allocated up to $34 million in aid to support international family planning programs administered by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). President Bush withheld these funds because a small part of the UNFPA's total efforts deals with China. Sometimes, China forces women to have abortions or to undergo sterilization against their will in order to enforce the country's one-child policy. President Bush has now redirected the funding to the USAID Child Survival and Health Program Fund. As the name implies, the mandate of this agency is to improve children's health. One small part of their program involves money "forecasting, purchasing, and supplying contraceptive commodities and other materials necessary for reproductive health programs."  One small part of those supplies involve emergency contraception. Physicians regard this medication as a form of contraception, since once a pregnancy has begin, the pills have no effect. However, some pro-life groups like the American Life League considers them to be "abortion-inducing chemicals that kill the very children that the fund claims to help." The League accused President Bush of stabbing "them in the back." 5 According to The Guardian, a UK newspaper, the European Union has decided to replace the UNFPA funding with 32 million euros -- the equivalent of $34 million U.S. dollars.

bullet 2002-OCT-10: NY: Most NYC pharmacies stock emergency contraception: A survey of 170 pharmacies in New York City showed that 55% carried Preven and/or Plan B -- the two emergency contraceptives. Compliance ranged from 68% in Manhattan to 37% in Queens. City Council introduced three bills: to increase public awareness of EC, to require that the city's STD clinics carry the medication, and require city-funded hospitals to offer EC to rape victims. 6

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Note:

** Since these events ocurred, medical researchers have established that the only effects of the pill is to prevent ovulation and to prevent conception. Interference with implantation is only a theoretical possibility and appears to be impossible.

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References:

  1. Charles R. MiVille, "'Emergency Contraception' Assailed," Focus on the Family, at: http://www.family.org/cforum/
  2. "ACLU Joins National Coalition in Promoting Emergency Contraception Awareness on First Annual 'Back up Your Birth Control Day' (March 20)," at:
     http://www.aclu.org/features/f032002a.html
  3. "CWA Blasts Davis For Forcing HMOs to Cover Abortion Pill," U.S. Newswire. 2002-MAR-28, at: http://www.usnewswire.com/topnews/first/0328-128.html
  4. Lawrence Morahan, " 'Morning-After' Pill Available at Some DoD Clinics," CNSNews.com, 2002-JUN-3, at: http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewPentagon
  5. "Redirection of $34 million from UNFPA to USAID a 'stab in the back,' " American Life League, 2002-JUL-23, at: http://www.all.org/news/020723.htm
  6. "Just over half of NYC pharmacies stock morning-after pill," Associated Press, 2002-OCT-10, at: http://www.boston.com/dailynews/283/

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

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Copyright © 2002 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2010-JUN-20
Author: B.A. Robinson
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