by Steven Ertelt
November 25, 2005
Lansing, MI (LifeNews.com) — A Michigan state lawmaker has introduced legislation that would ban sales of the morning after pill over the counter. The bill comes as the FDA is considering whether or not to allow that to happen nationwide for women over the age of 16.
Rep. John Stahl, a Republican from North Branch filed the legislation to limit the sales of the Plan B drug, which can sometimes cause an abortion. Her measure comes as Target retail stores are coming under fire from abortion advocates for supporting a Missouri pharmacist who refused to fill a prescription for the drugs.
Stahl wants his bill to be approved before the FDA steps in and allows sales of the drug without a doctor’s visit. he said more research needs to be done before that happens.
"I don’t think there’s enough scientific evidence to allow that," Stahl told the Detroit News.
He said he worries that the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases will increase because the drug doesn’t protect against them and couples may falsely think they are protected.
Other lawmakers who support Stahl’s bill say they want to incorporate policies like Target’s into their bill. The company will allow a pharmacist to opt out of filling a prescription for a drug that violates their moral or religious beliefs.
We just want to provide some protection for them," state Rep. Scott Hummel, another Republican, told the News. "In other parts of the country, we’ve seen efforts to force (medical workers) to participate in procedures when they won’t want to."
Abortion advocates, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan, told the Detroit newspaper they will oppose the proposal.
"It’s unfortunate that members of the Michigan Legislature would put politics and ideology above women’s health," said Sarah Scranton, executive director of Planned Parenthood in the state. "Religious beliefs shouldn’t get in the way of providing care."
The Michigan Catholic Conference has listed the bill as one of its top priorities for the next legislative session.
"We already have conscience protection with regard to abortion — no pharmacist nor physician nor nurse has to participate in that if it goes against their religious beliefs — but this would cover other procedures, including some that might be down the road," said Paul Long, public policy vice president for the Catholic Conference.