A.2674-A, Paulin / S.3793-A, Krueger: In relation to emergency contraception

Published on January 31st, 2018

Memorandum of Opposition

This bill would expand access to “emergency contraception” (EC) by allowing additional practitioners to prescribe it, requiring insurance coverage for any form of EC without cost-sharing, and requiring state DOH education and outreach about EC to school educators. The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this legislation.

As noted by the bill sponsors, the intent of this legislation is to provide “immediate” access to these medications, particularly for “young women.” Such policy would provide girls as young as 11 or 12 years old easy access to these powerful drugs without parental knowledge or physician oversight. As a matter of state law, many products sold by pharmacies, e.g. tobacco and non-prescription allergy medicine, are restricted to consumers 18 years of age and older.

Medical experts and the FDA agree that emergency contraception can work in various ways. It can act to inhibit or delay ovulation, and thus prevent conception. But it can also act to prevent an already-fertilized egg from implanting in the uterine wall, destroying a developing human embryo. This is early abortion, and it is morally abhorrent to many New Yorkers. The definition of “emergency contraception” included in this legislation is thus inaccurate and misleading.

We further oppose this bill because it fails to provide religious liberty protections for employers who may have objections to financing insurance coverage of drugs they find morally objectionable. The legislation keeps in place the inadequate 4-part legal definition of “religious employer” which fails to protect charitable organizations, hospitals and schools sponsored by religious organizations, as well as private organizations. These entities would be forced by this bill to pay for insurance coverage of abortion-inducing drugs.

For all of the above-noted reasons, we oppose this legislation and urge a negative vote.

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