Connecticut Governor M Jodi Rell (R) signed a bill yesterday ensuring that all licensed health care facilities make emergency contraception available to victims of sexual assault. The law, which will take effect on October 1, 2007, requires that victims of sexual assault receive medically accurate and objective information about emergency contraception (EC) and are provided with EC upon request.
Women advocates lobbied extensively for the legislation. “No woman deserves to face bearing the child of a rapist or having an abortion because she was denied a simple course of pills when she needed them the most,” Laura Cordes, director of policy and advocacy for Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, told the Hartford Courant.
Out of the state’s 31 hospitals, only the four Catholic hospitals objected to the bill. In order to appease concerns by Catholics who oppose distribution of contraception, the bill allows a third-party provider, such as a rape crisis nurse, to dispense the medicine. Catholic officials, however, are not satisfied with the provision; Archbishop Henry J. Mansell still objects to the distribution of EC on hospital grounds, the Hartford Courant reports.
Other states are also considering bills that would provide sexual assault victims with EC. Most recently, the Wisconsin state Senate voted 27-6 to approve a similar bill yesterday, and the Oregon legislature approved a bill, sending it the governor’s desk where it expected to be signed into law