George Pataki Duels With Abortion Advocates on Morning After Pill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 2, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

George Pataki Duels With Abortion Advocates on Morning After Pill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 2, 2005

Albany, NY ( — New York Gov. George Pataki is feuding with abortion advocates after pledging to veto a bill that would make the state the next to allow over the counter sales of the morning after pill, which can sometimes cause an abortion. Pro-abortion groups accused him of pandering to national Republicans in advance of a potential presidential bid.

Pataki is threatening to veto the bill because it doesn’t provide age restrictions on young teens purchasing the morning after pill without a doctor’s visit.

On Monday, NARAL launched a television ad criticizing Pataki and saying the governor has flop-flopped on the issue because he’s supported abortions for teenagers in the past.

“This is a bald example of pandering to a narrow constituency outside of New York,” said Kelli Conlin, the executive director of NARAL NY. “There is no question if he was running for re-election he would have signed this bill in an instant.”

Conlin says the group’s attack ads will air in New York, New Hampshire and Iowa. The organization had previously scheduled a flight of ads celebrating the retiring governor’s pro-abortion views.

Pataki claims his opposition to the bill has nothing to do with presidential politics.

"I happen to think that it is simply wrong that a 12 or 13-year-old girl would have access to prescription medication with no medical supervision at all, which would be the case under this bill," Pataki said. "If those flaws can be corrected, and I don’t see why they can’t, then I would sign the bill."

Assemblywoman RoAnn Destito, a Democrat, said she would work to override the governor’s expected veto. However, pro-life advocates hope that doesn’t happen.

"Powerful medication without a prescription is just bad policy generally, but on a further level it would be the taking of a life," Hamilton College associate history Professor Douglas Ambrose said. "That’s an act that we should not be promoting and should not be making available with or without a doctor’s prescription."

The measure would allow women, including teenagers to purchase the drug at a local pharmacy without first seeing a doctor and obtaining a prescription.

The Plan B drugs can also be provided to a patient by a nurse or midwife. They can obtain blank prescription pads from doctors to complete on their own for the drugs.

The legislation will reach Pataki’s desk sometime this week and the governor has 10 days to sign or veto it.

Pataki last week said he would not run for a fourth term as governor and hinted he may launch a presidential campaign.

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.