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MA: Bill to Expand Access to Emergency Contraception Vetoed

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) vetoed legislation today that would have expanded access to emergency contraception (EC). Women’s rights and reproductive rights groups immediately protested Romney’s decision to veto the bill. The bill would have allowed specially trained pharmacists to dispense EC without a doctor’s prescription and it would have required hospitals to offer EC to victims of sexual assault. However, the bill is still likely to become law because it passed in the Massachusetts legislature with more than the two-thirds needed to override the Governor’s veto, according to the Boston Globe.

Romney wrote an op ed for the Boston Globe to explain his reasoning behind vetoing the bill, claiming that EC sometimes causes abortions, even though it is widely agreed upon in the medical community that pregnancy does not begin until implantation. In addition, the most recent research published by the Population Council’s International Committee for Contraception Research and other scientists “shows that the most popular method of emergency contraception [Plan B] appears to work by interfering with ovulation, thus preventing fertilization, and not by disrupting events that occur after fertilization.”

“This bill has nothing to do with abortion, except that its passage will help prevent them,” said state Senator Pamela P. Resor (D), a major supporter of the bill, told the Globe. For Governor Romney to put his own political aspirations before the safety, health, and well-being of women across the Commonwealth is irresponsible.”

The Feminist Majority Foundation leads a national drive on college campuses to increase the availability of emergency contraception 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 thousands of abortions a year.

TAKE ACTION Urge the Food and Drug Administration to approve over-the-counter status for emergency contraception

LEARN MORE & DISCUSS at ms.musings, Ms. magazine’s blog

DONATE to support the Feminist Majority Foundation’s campaign to increase access to EC on college campuses

Sources:

Boston Globe7/26/05; New York Times 7/25/05Boston Herald 7/26/05