(Washington, D.C) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray and U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) introduced legislation in the Senate and House that will raise awareness about the availability of emergency contraception. The bill authorizes an education campaign to better inform women and health care providers of emergency contraception.
"Women deserve to have full knowledge of their health care options and doctors and pharmacists need the training to be able to provide it," Senator Murray said. "We all want to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and one of the most effective ways to do this is to increase awareness and education of contraceptives."
“We need to do everything we can to ensure that all women continue to have access to contraception and choices about what works best for them,” Rep. Slaughter said. “Studies show that emergency contraceptive use in the United States remains low, and 1 out of 3 women of reproductive age remain unaware of the method. We must educate women about their options so they can make well informed choices about their reproductive health.”
This bill directs the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to establish an Emergency Contraception Public Education Program through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The program would provide a description of emergency contraception and an explanation of its use, safety, efficacy and availability to nonprofit organizations, consumer groups, institutions of higher education, Federal, State, or local agencies, clinics and the media. Murray and Slaughter have introduced this bill in previous Congresses.
Emergency contraception is a responsible means of preventing pregnancy that works like other hormonal contraception. This method does not cause abortion and will not affect an established pregnancy. The Food and Drug Administration has declared emergency contraception to be safe and effective in preventing unintended pregnancy. Emergency contraception currently on the market can reduce the risk of pregnancy by as much as 89 percent if taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. However, studies show that emergency contraceptive use in the United States remains low, and 1 out of 3 women of reproductive age remain unaware of the method.