In Illinois and California, laws affecting emergency contraception — the so-called “morning after” pill — went into effect on January 1, 2002. In both states, the new laws are designed to make access to emergency contraception easier.
California took the biggest step, allowing women to obtain emergency contraception directly from pharmacists without first seeing a doctor to obtain a prescription. Jane Boggess, executive director of the Pharmacy Access Partnership which pushed for the change in the law, told the Sacramental Bee,
Women will now be able to go directly to their pharmacists for emergency contraception, which is a significant improvement over having to make an appointment with a doctor or clinic first. Time is of essence with emergency contraception. In order to prevent a pregnancy after unprotected sex, a woman must use emergency contraception within 72 hours.
Illinois, which already allows prescriptions for emergency contraception to be obtained over the Internet, added a mandate which requires hospitals to inform rape victims about emergency contraception. The legislature had originally considered forcing hospitals to provide such drugs to rape victims, but faced opposition from Catholic hospitals that opposed to emergency contraception on religious and ethical grounds.
New contraception law takes effect. The Sacramento Bee, December 31, 2001.
New state laws pending. Christopher Wills, Associated Press, January 1, 2002.
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