College Contraception Bill Clears Senate Committee

A bill moving in the New York State Senate would promote the use of so-called “emergency contraception” in New York’s public colleges and universities.

Bill S.5633-Parker, the Public University Emergency Contraception Education Act (PUECEA), would require New York’s public colleges and universities to display posters and disseminate “informational materials” regarding “emergency contraception.” This bill is unnecessary and ill-advised.

Among other flaws, the bill is inaccurate. The use of the term “emergency contraception” is misleading, given that the drugs referred to with this term can actually block the implantation of a zygote (or fertilized egg) within a woman’s uterus. Similarly, the bill calls for students to be informed that “emergency contraception” “cannot and does not cause abortions,” when—from a scientific perspective—such drugs can and do cause early abortions.

The legislation is also one-sided. If the State of New York wishes to use its public colleges and universities to promote public health messages about sex and pregnancy, it should tell the whole story. Such messages should include information on (a) the “dozens” of sexually transmitted diseases in the United States;  (b) recent increases in STD rates in the United States;  and (c) the benefits of delaying sexual activity until marriage. This bill offers no such balance.

Furthermore, the promotion and provision of “emergency contraception” could encourage sexual risk-taking and the abandonment of barrier methods of contraception on public college and university campuses. At least one study has shown that increased “emergency contraception” availability is connected to an increase in the occurrence of sexually transmitted diseases.

On May 5, 2021, the State Senate Women’s Issues Committee voted, 5-1-1, to advance the PUECEA. Democrat Senators Samra Brouk, Peter Harckham, Anna Kaplan, Julia Salazar, and José Serrano all voted “Aye”, while Republican Senator Daphne Jordan voted “Nay” and Sen. Alexis Weik voted “AWR” (Aye Without Recommendation), reserving the possibility that she could vote differently on a floor vote. The bill could see a floor vote this year. New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms urges Members of the Legislature to vote against this bill.