Colorado Would Allow Morning After Pill Over the Counter Under New Bill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 6, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Colorado Would Allow Morning After Pill Over the Counter Under New Bill Email this article
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by Maria Vitale Gallagher Staff Writer
February 6, 2006

Washington, DC ( — Colorado pharmacists would be permitted to prescribe the controversial morning-after pill, under legislation introduced in the state legislature.

“This morally irresponsible proposal would give pharmacists the power to potentially terminate a human life, a power that no single individual should have,” Rep. David Schultheis (R-Colorado Springs) told a Denver television station.

“This authority should not belong with pharmacists, and would put many in an uncomfortable moral position that goes against their own religious beliefs.”

A number of pharmacists in the U.S. do not want to have to dispense the morning-after pill on moral grounds because it sometimes causes an abortion.

As a result, the issue of pharmacists dispensing the Plan B drugs has received national media attention.

Colorado Governor Bill Owens vetoed a bill last year which would have required Colorado hospitals to make the morning-after pill available. Rep. Betty Boyd (D-Lakewood) sponsored both that legislation and the current bill.

Boyd’s latest measure gives pharmacists “limited prescriptive authority.” While Colorado pharmacists would not be forced to provide the abortion pill to women who asked for it, they would be allowed powers currently granted solely to doctors.

Colorado’s Catholic hospitals last year said they would be violating their moral beliefs if they were required to prescribe the morning-after pill. This year’s plan shifts the burden from hospitals to pharmacists. Both the Colorado Medical Society and the Colorado Pharmacists Society are lobbying for the bill.

But a spokesman for the Governor says the state’s chief executive still has concerns about the measure.

“As (the Governor) expressed in his veto message last year, rape is a heinous crime and every victim deserves compassionate and comprehensive treatment,” said Press Secretary Dan Hopkins.

“The use of emergency contraception is a deeply personal decision and victims are entitled to receive detailed and balanced information for that decision. We will be reviewing Rep. Boyd’s bill to see how it addresses the Governor’s concerns.”

House Bill 1212 is expected to receive its initial public hearing in the next few weeks. Critics of the bill see it as an example of an attempt to loosen restrictions on abortion.