Bill introduced in the Senate increases access to, education about emergency contraception

In the wake of limitations on contraceptive access after the Hobby Lobby decision, a bill has been introduced in the Senate that would increase both awareness and access to emergency contraception. The bill, introduced on Tuesday, specifically targets women who are victims of rape or incest, and would ensure access to plan B or the ‘morning after pill’ for those who request it.  The bill would require any hospital that receives funding from Medicaid or Medicare to provide Plan B or other FDA-approved forms of emergency contraception to sexual assault survivors regardless of income or ability to pay. The bill also directs Health and Human services to educate the public about how Plan B works and where they can access it.

Emergency contraception delays ovulation in order to prevent a pregnancy from occurring. Emergency contraception is underused in the United States, even in cases such as sexual assault where it could be of greatest importance. Improving both access and awareness of emergency contraception are key in spreading its use in necessary situations. Emergency contraception is a vital family planning tool because of the possible failure of proactive forms of birth control, and because of the possibility of unwanted pregnancy in the case of sexual assault. For women to fully exercise the right of choice, they need a full range of options available to them, and access to emergency contraception helps ensure healthy and safe family planning for all women.



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