Some members of the New York State Legislature want to use your tax dollars to promote so-called “emergency contraception” at public colleges and universities.
Bill S.5089-Parker/A.4831-Englebright, the Public University Emergency Contraception Education Act, would require all of New York’s public colleges and universities to display posters and disseminate “informational materials” regarding “emergency contraception.” The posters and “informational materials” would be created by the New York State Department of Health in consultation with “representatives of reproductive health care providers” and others. What this means, of course, is that Planned Parenthood would be involved.
The mere use of the term “emergency contraception” is inaccurate, 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. The term “emergency contraception” implies that a drug will prevent pregnancy before conception has occurred, not end a pregnancy after conception has already taken place. 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 very early abortions.
Another problem with this bill is the potential for unintended consequences. The promotion 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.
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. Specifically, such messages should include (a) information on the “dozens” of sexually transmitted diseases in the United States; (b) the fact that STD rates are increasing in the United States; and (c) the health benefits of delaying sexual activity until marriage. This legislation offers no such balance.
At this writing, the bill is on third reading in the State Senate. This means it is poised for Senate passage at any time. Please contact your elected officials today and urge them to oppose this legislation.