Saturday, March 17, 2007

Colorado To Require Hospitals to Tell Rape Survivors About Emergency Contraception

Via the Denver Post, Rape victims must now be told options:

Gov. Bill Ritter on Thursday signed a law requiring hospitals to tell rape victims about the availability of emergency contraception, capping a years-long effort by Sen. Betty Boyd to make the pills more readily available....

Ritter, a Catholic who opposes abortion, noted the bill's exception for medical professionals who have religious or moral objections to personally providing the information. However, the measure requires that hospitals - even Catholic institutions - find someone on staff to relay the information.

"A lot of people spent a lot of time working very hard on this bill," said Ritter, a Democrat. "Thanks for bringing it to me in this fashion, giving me the ability to sign it into law."

Learn more about emergency contraception (also known as the "morning-after pill").  Given the time-sensitivity of emergency contraception (it is most effective when taken within 72 hours after intercourse), a bill requiring hospitals to provide the medication itself, not just information about it, would more effectively help rape survivors prevent a pregnancy resulting from the rape.  The Colorado bill, however, does rightly omit any exemption for Catholic hospitals (although apparently individual health care providers may refuse to provide the information).  Since a rape survivor may well not have a choice about which emergency room ends up treating her, and since Catholic hospitals treat patients without regard to a patient's religious persuasion, Catholic emergency rooms should be required to give patients information about all available options.  Read more at Planned Parenthood.

Contraception, Religion and Reproductive Rights, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink

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