New York Bill Promoting Morning After Pill Gets Legislature’s Support

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 28, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New York Bill Promoting Morning After Pill Gets Legislature’s Support Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 28, 2006

Albany, NY ( — A bill in the New York that would make the state the next to allow over the counter sales of the morning after pill is advancing in the state legislature. Supporters say the measure addresses the concerns Gov. George Pataki had that led him to veto an earlier bill last year.

The measure would allow any woman or teenager to purchase the Plan B drugs, which can sometimes cause an abortion, at a pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription.

Pataki vetoed the measure last year because he said he wanted to make sure teens see a physician first, wanted to limit the number of pills sold. He also wanted to make sure girls weren’t having unprotected sex by relying on the drugs because they do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on Monday said, "This bill addresses four-fifths of the issues the governor raised."

The revised measure would allow pharmacists to sell just one dose of the drugs at a time. The bill would also make information about STDs available and prescriptions would only be available to women in the county in which they live.

Still, the bill does not set age limits on who can purchase the Plan B drugs.

"Regardless of age, people should have choice," Silver said, according to an AP report.

That has the governor concerned again.

"We haven’t fully reviewed the legislation, but our understanding is that the Assembly Majority has failed to address the most significant flaw in its bill _ the absence of appropriate protections for young, adolescent women," Pataki spokesman Kevin Quinn told the Associated Press.

"The governor has made clear that if a responsible version of the bill is advanced, which protects our children by ensuring that they receive appropriate and responsible individualized medical care, the governor would support it," Quinn added.

AP reports that some lawmakers are criticizing the governor saying he’s trying to build up some conservative credentials leading up to a possible 2008 presidential bid.

Pro-life advocates oppose the measure because the morning after pill can sometimes cause an abortion.

"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."

After his veto, NARAL launched a television ad criticizing Pataki and saying the governor has flop-flopped on the issue. The group’s attack ads aired in New York, New Hampshire and Iowa.

The organization had previously scheduled a flight of ads celebrating the retiring governor’s pro-abortion views.

Throughout his tenure as governor, Pataki has been a supporter of abortion, though he is seen as trying to tone down his views in an attempt to appeal to conservative Republicans he would need to capture the party’s nod.

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.