Alaska’s Medical Board on Friday rejected 4-2 a proposal that would have required women to obtain a physical exam from a doctor before receiving emergency contraception (EC) from a pharmacist. The proposal also would have required women to obtain a doctor’s prescription for EC, even though Alaska has a law allowing women to obtain EC from a trained pharmacist without a prescription.
Friday’s vote followed a public comment period and public testimony that was overwhelmingly against the proposed restrictions. Dr. John Middaugh, an epidemiologist in Alaska, testified that there is no medical or scientific reason to pass these restrictions, saying, “Please don’t let the politics trump science and undermine the integrity of the state medical board,” according to the Anchorage Daily News.
The Feminist Majority Foundation leads a national drive on college campuses to increase the availability of EC for young women. EC is exceedingly safe and effective if taken within 5 days but it is most effective (95 percent) if taken within 24 hours after any unprotected sexual intercourse, when a condom breaks, or after a sexual assault. EC has the potential to cut in half the 3 million unintended pregnancies in the United States each year and prevent tens of thousands of abortions a year.