Yesterday, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill deceptively entitled the “Emergency Contraception Education Act.” Upon a careful reading the bill, it becomes clear that this bill is not about educating women on the use of so-called “emergency contraception;” instead, it mandates the governmental dissemination of propaganda supporting the abortion industry.
In fact, the bill contains so many “red flags” that it is difficult to fully capture and address them all. Before even getting into the creation of “education programs”—the purported “heart” of the bill—the bill contains a number of congressional “findings” that are breathtaking in their agenda-driven inaccuracy.
For example, the bill acknowledges that “emergency contraception” (EC) works by “preventing or delaying ovulation, preventing fertilization and may prevent implantation.” Implantation of what? The drafters do not say, clearly tipping their hat to the biased slant of this bill. In reality, EC can work by preventing an already-developing human embryo from implanting in a woman’s uterus—thus making it an abortion drug, not an “emergency contraceptive.”
A core controversy of the bill comes down to the definition of “pregnancy”—and the drafters and sponsors of this bill are working under a definition of “pregnancy” not generally understood or accepted by the medical establishment or the majority of the American public. While most of us would think of “pregnancy” as beginning at conception—when the egg and sperm unite and a unique and separate human organism is formed—under the terms of this bill, “pregnancy” does not begin until that unique human embryo has implanted. Yet this is a clear delineation from decades of embryology.
The bill explicitly states, “Emergency contraception does not terminate an established pregnancy.” But of course, that is true only if you agree with the drafters’ misleading definition of “pregnancy.”
The “heart” of the bill directs the government to educate women and health care providers on the “use, safety, efficacy, and availability of emergency contraception.” Note that it does not instruct the government to disseminate educational material informing women and their healthcare providers on how emergency contraception works, how effective it really is, what its safety record is, or what is meant by “pregnancy.”
This means the federal government will be directly disseminating information that is beneficial and profit-boosting to the abortion industry, but not necessarily informative for women and their healthcare providers.
Further, because the bill is lacking in detail as to what “safety” and “efficacy” information is to be disseminated, it is questionable whether this bill will even provide women with medically-appropriate information on those important issues. For example, the bill itself admits that EC works 59 to 94 percent of the time—but is the propaganda really going to inform women that EC may fail in 41 percent of cases? Doubtful. More likely, women will be informed that “EC works in up to 94 percent of cases.” Similarly, the government is directed to disseminate information about the “safety” of EC—but the bill does not direct that this “safety” information should include details on the risks of using EC.
Of note, the drafters claim that EC is effective up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse or contraceptive failure. But since Plan B’s (the most common type of EC currently available in the U.S) approval, physicians have continually stated that EC is only affective up to 72 hours (or only 3 days) after intercourse. Interestingly, just yesterday an FDA advisory committee considered approval of the drug Ulipristal, which been has misleadingly categorized as an “emergency contraceptive” for use up to 5 days after intercourse. The claimed need for this new drug is that it is more effective—and effective for a longer period—than Plan B. Yet here, the drafters of this bill are stating the exact opposite. And even at the FDA meeting, Dr. Emerson, a professor of Biostatistics at the University of Washington, stated that for a drug to be efficacious on day 4 or 5, it must have an abortifacient quality.
Further, in the bill the federal government is directed to make “a recommendation regarding the use of such contraception in appropriate cases.” This is not “education”—this is the government attempting to step into the shoes of the health care provider. So much for “reproductive decisions” being left up to the woman and her physician.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. In numerous places, the bill references provider and hospital failure to stock and advise on EC, apparently laying the groundwork for further regulation requiring providers and hospitals to provide EC—even if such a provision contradicts their medical knowledge or consciences.
In NARAL’s press release today, President Nancy Keenan claimed that this bill will “improve women’s awareness of EC and how it works.” But that is not truly the purpose of this bill. If it were, women would be informed that “emergency contraceptives” like Plan B can actually prevent a human embryo from implanting—that it can work after conception has occurred (i.e., after the woman is “pregnant”), that it has a substantial failure rate, and that there are significant risks involved in its use.
Instead, the real purpose of this bill is to ensure that women receive the one-sided, agenda-driven propaganda of the abortion industry, promoting the use of a potential abortion-causing and dangerous drug that will further boost the abortion industry’s profit margin.