Slaughter and Murray Introduce Emergency Contraception Education Bill
Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA.) introduced a bill last week that would establish a public education program to inform women and their health care providers about emergency contraception. According to a press release, the program, established through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, would educate consumers, nonprofits, universities, clinics, the media, and other interested groups about the uses, safety, and availability of emergency contraception.
In the press release, Representative Slaughter said, "We need to do everything we can to ensure that all women continue to have access to contraception and the choices about what works best for them." She continued, "Studies show that emergency contraceptive use in the United States remains low, and 1 out of 3 women of reproductive age remain unaware of the method. We must educate women about their options so they can make well informed choices about reproductive health."
Slaughter and Murray introduced the same bill to Congress in 2002, 2005, and 2007, but the legislation has never passed committee hearings.
Emergency contraception is effective in preventing pregnancy up to five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex, birth control failure, or rape, but it is most effective (95 percent) if taken within 24 hours. Emergency Contraception does not terminate an existing pregnancy.
Media Resources: Senator Murray Press Release 6/17/10; Ms. Magazine Blog 6/18/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 9/2/2009