New Hampshire Senate Rejects Parental Consent for Morning After Pills

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 16, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Hampshire Senate Rejects Parental Consent for Morning After Pills Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 16, 2006

Concord, NH ( — The New Hampshire Senate defeated a measure requiring parents to provide their consent before a teenager could purchase the morning after pill. Pro-life lawmakers said the drugs can cause abortions and that parents should have the right to sign off on the pills their children are taking.

The state Senate rejected the measure on a 14-10 vote.

"Every young woman in the state should have a right to make a decision that’s not abortion or childbirth," Sen. Peter Burling, a Democrat, said in opposing the bill.

According to an Associated Press report, Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, also a Democrat, said rejecting the bill would not promote promiscuity and added that teens who are victims of rape and incest need to not have to secure a parent’s permission before purchasing the Plan B drugs.

New Hampshire is one of a handful of states in the nation to allow the drugs to be purchased over the counter. Alaska, California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico and Washington are the others.

New Hampshire’s law is slightly different in that it allows pharmacies to sign up to participate in the program. Only those that choose to sell the drugs over the counter will do so.

The proposal also included allowing a pharmacist’s conscience clause for those who have religious or moral objections to dispensing the morning after pill.

Sen. Bob Letourneau was upset that this bill was rejected because he said pharmacists should be allowed to conduct their jobs without fear of reprisal because they don’t want to dispense drugs that can cause abortions.

Pharmacists there must undergo a mandatory training course before being allowed to dispense the drugs, but lawmakers said there is pressure to attend the training since fewer than 20% of the state’s pharmacists chose to attend the first two seminars held at the end of last year.

A December poll conducted by HCD Research of Flemington, New Jersey, which surveyed 859 pharmacists, found 69 percent of pharmacists believe they should have the ability to decline filling prescriptions for the morning after pill.

The firm conducted the poll after news of four Illinois pharmacists fired from Walgreens stores near St. Louis after they said they would not fill orders for the Plan B drug because of their views on it.

HCD Research found that just 29 percent of those pharmacists polled believed Walgreens was justified in putting the pharmacists on unpaid leave. They have since filed a complaint with the EEOC about the actions and may file a lawsuit if they doesn’t help them return to work.

The state House has also defeated a pharmacist’s conscience clause and it has a bill that requires parental notification for purchasing the morning after pill rather than consent.