by Steven Ertelt
June 24, 2005
Salem, OR (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates in Oregon teamed up with Gov. Ted Kulongoski to promote the morning after pill Thursday. At a press conference they talked up two bills that would make the sometimes abortion causing drugs available over the counter.
Kulongoski and Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL spokes to reporters from a ceremonial room at the governor’s office.
"Instead of finding new restrictions for the young and the poor, we need to find ways to work together to address real issues," Kulongoski said. "The issues are access to affordable health care, availability of contraceptives, and perhaps most important, information and education."
Keenan added that the Plan B pills are intended to help prevent unwanted pregnancy — "something we should all agree on."
Under the measure, specially trained pharmacists would be able to sell customers the Plan B drugs. The Senate approved SB 849 on a 22-9 vote and the measure now heads to the state House, which is holding it up.
Backers of the bill claim the morning after pill would reduce the number of abortions and decrease teenage pregnancies.
However, a recent study, conducted by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco, that found increased access to the "morning after" pill did not lower pregnancy rates because many women did not use the pills.
Wendy Wright, of Concerned Women for America, said the study showed "easy access to the drug increases sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates," a situation she called "alarming."
"Furthermore, studies show that the abortion rate is unaffected, and in some cases has increased," she explained.
"Proponents have repeatedly claimed that making the drug available without a prescription would reduce abortion numbers by as many as half; now their own study debunks that claim," Cathy Cleaver Ruse, speaking for the nation’s Catholic bishops, added.
At the press conference, the Oregon chapter of NARAL released the results of a survey showing 70 percent of the 150 pharmacists in the state say they stock and dispense the morning after pill.
That wasn’t enough for Treasure Mackley of the Oregon pro-abortion group, who said she wanted to see the number higher, especially in rural areas.
Seven other states have approved sales of the morning after pill over the counter. Alaska, California, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Washington allow the morning after pill to be purchased without a prescription.
Canada has also made the sometimes abortion drug Plan B available over the counter without a prescription and Vermont and Oregon are considering similar proposals.