Progress and Setbacks in Sexual Assault Survivors' Access to Emergency Contraception

By Rachel Walden — December 6, 2007

A bill that would have required Pennsylvania hospitals to make emergency contraception and information on the drug available to rape victims has been withdrawn from consideration. Despite compromises that would have allowed religious hospitals to use third-party advisors to work with women on obtaining emergency contraception, Rep. Daylin Leach withdrew the bill because it appeared that there was not enough support from fellow Representatives to pass the measure.

A similar bill in Wisconsin is expected to pass, perhaps this month, and the state’s Governor has indicated that he will sign off on the law. However, an amendment has been added that would allow hospitals to opt out for religious reasons. Supporters of the bill are working to have the amendment removed.

The National Conference of State Legislatures updated their 50 State Summary of Emergency Contraception Laws in October of this year; the resource includes a state-by-state list of provisions related to pharmacies, insurers, and providers of emergency care to sexual assault victims. This may serve as a handy guide to your rights in your state, and suggest states in which further advocacy and action is needed.

Relatedly, the Academy for Educational Development is looking for participants for an anonymous online survey of Plan B users in order to assess their experiences and work toward making the drug more readily available. Eligible participants are women in the United States, ages 18-44 years, who have used Plan B after January 1, 2007. This survey is funded by Duramed Research, Inc., a subsidiary of Barr Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Plan B.

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