30 January 2006

Semi-Over The Counter Emergency Contraception

House Bill 1212 is a bill that would allow pharmacists in Colorado to prescribe emergency contraception (i.e. big control pills packaged so that it can prevent a pregnancy if taken shortly after unprotected sex). It is sponsored by State Representative Boyd (whose District includes part of Jefferson County) and State Senator Veiga (whose District includes West Washington Park), both Democratic women.

This would eliminate the cost and delay of having to see a doctor before receiving emergency contraception. The Federal Drug Administration's advisory board has already voted overwhelmingly to make this drug available over the counter. The only concern expressed by a politically motivated FDA director was that young minors might use it improperly. Some states allow EC to be sold over the counter. This bill would strike a middle ground between true over the counter Status, and prescription drug status, not too different from Sudafed.

Unlike last session's bill, which would have required emergency room doctors to inform rape victims of the EC option, this bill compels no one to do anything. It is purely voluntary. And, if the word gets out that certain pharmacies provide the service, they could meet the demand.

The Governor says: "The use of emergency contraception is a deeply personal decision and victims are entitled to receive detailed and balanced information for that decision. We will be reviewing Rep. Boyd's bill to see how it addresses the Governor's concerns."

Representative David Schulteis (R-Colorado Springs) says: "This morally irresponsible proposal would give pharmacists the power to potentially terminate a human life, a power that no single individual should have. . . This authority should not belong with pharmacists, and would put many in an uncomfortable moral position that goes against their own religious beliefs."

Make no mistake. When David Schulteis' lips are moving, he's not telling the truth. Emergency contraception doesn't cause abortions any more than birth control pills do. It is the very same drug and works the very same way. Banning birth control pills is not anywhere near the mainstream of popular opinion. Doctors are free to prescribe EC now and routinely do. Any claim that pharmacists aren't up to this task is pure politics, Schulteis certainly doesn't have any doubts about pharmacists ability to step in when what they are doing is forbidding their customers from getting these same drugs.

No comments: