Sen. Betty Boyd will finally see a bill become law today that she’s worked for four years to get passed. Gov. Ritter will sign Senate Bill 60, which requires hospitals to give sexual assault victims information about emergency contraception. Boyd has introduced similar measures in past years, but the closest such a bill came to becoming law was in 2005, when former Gov. Bill Owens vetoed it.
SB 60 also requires pharmacies that don’t have EC in stock to post a prominent sign saying so, thus saving women valuable time waiting in line. EC can prevent pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex – though the sooner the better.
EC can be dispensed at pharmacies without a prescription, but a Colorado Confidential investigation in November found that many pharmacies don’t stock it. Availability seemed to be most limited in rural areas and Colorado Springs. Catholic hospitals have objected to similar measures in past years, but SB 60 includes a right for hospital workers who object on moral grounds to opt out. All hospitals, however, would still have to find someone on staff who would talk to victims about EC.
The Senate passed the bill Jan. 30 by a vote of 25-10, and the House passed it Feb. 14 on a vote of 56-9. Rep. Anne McGihon is the sponsor in the House.
Once signed by the governor, the bill will go into effect immediately.