New Plan B Bill This Session?

Will state Senator Betty Boyd try for a fifth time this session to make emergency contraception more available to Colorado women? In past years, Boyd introduced bills that would have required hospitals to tell sexual assault victims about Plan B, which can prevent pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. It took three tries before the measure passed in 2005, only to be vetoed by Governor Bill Owens. Last year Boyd bypassed hospitals and introduced HB 1212, which would have allowed pharmacists to dispense EC without a prescription. Again, Owens vetoed the measure.

Soon after, the FDA approved the over-the-counter sale of emergency contraception, but that doesn’t mean it’s available at all pharmacies. A Colorado Confidential investigation in November found that EC wasn’t available at many pharmacies in the state.
Elsewhere, officials have recognized that the clock is ticking when women need EC, and they shouldn’t have to waste time hunting it down. As fellow Confidant Wendy Norris reported in the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, Illinois’ governor signed an executive order requiring pharmacies to stock EC if they already stock birth control pills, and the city of Madison, Wis., requires pharmacies that don’t have EC to post signs informing customers where they can get it.

Boyd could propose a similar bill this session that would require pharmacies that don’t stock EC to post a sign saying so. Such a measure would save women crucial time standing in line. Pharmacies will probably object to the burden of posting a sign, but Boyd’s EC bills have been successful in passing the Democratic legislature. And, this year, Owens’ veto pen won’t be waiting.

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