Senate Rejects Morning After Pill Promotion, Abortion Advocates Upset

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 22, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Rejects Morning After Pill Promotion, Abortion Advocates Upset Email this article
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by Maria Vitale Gallagher Staff Writer
March 22, 2005

Washington, DC ( — The U.S. Senate last week rejected an effort to promote the morning-after pill, also known as emergency contraception. Pro-life groups oppose the drug because it sometimes acts as an abortion agent.

The head of the pro-abortion lobbying group known as NARAL blasted the Senate’s decision to reject a morning-after pill amendment proposed by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY).

“They (the Senators) will be held accountable for blocking funding to raise awareness of emergency contraceptive services for women whose primary contraception fails," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL.

The Senate rejected the amendment to the FY 2006 Congressional budget resolution by a vote of 53 to 47. The Reid-Clinton amendment would have funded a public education campaign to boost public awareness of the morning-after pill.

The measure would have also funded teen pregnancy prevention programs involving the discussion of sexually explicit material. The amendment would have also expanded a birth control program for low-income women and expanded health insurance coverage of contraception.

Analysts say pro-abortion Democrats were hoping the amendment could soften their image on abortion.

Results of the 2004 Presidential election showed that pro-life voters were instrumental in re-electing President George W. Bush. Senator Clinton has been talking about making abortion rare, and new Democratic Party chief Howard Dean has said there’s room in the party for pro-life Democrats.

Senator Clinton told the press that the amendment was "part of our effort to find common ground."

The chairman of the Budget Committee, New Hampshire Republican Judd Gregg, objected to the amendment, saying it would prevent funding for abstinence-only education programs.

Gregg also argued that including birth control in health care coverage could cause insurance costs to rise.

In an interview with Reuters, NARAL’s Keenan said, "Democrats are not running away from the issue, and they don’t need to change their position. The majority of Americans are pro-choice."

However, a number of national public opinion polls show that more and more people consider themselves pro-life.