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Birth-Control Debate

June 24, 2005 • Volume 15, Issue 24
Should Americans have easier access to contraception?
By Marcia Clemmitt

Introduction

State lawmakers are debating whether pharmacists and hospitals should be required to offer emergency contraception, also known as Plan B, to rape victims.  (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
State lawmakers are debating whether pharmacists and hospitals should be required to offer emergency contraception, also known as Plan B, to rape victims. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

Most sexually active American women use birth control, but a vocal minority — mostly conservative Christians — has long argued that easy access to contraception increases the rates of abortion, teen pregnancy and divorce. Debates over access to birth control have heated up recently as a handful of pharmacists have begun refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control on ethical grounds, and the Bush administration has blocked easing access to emergency contraceptives — pills that prevent pregnancy when taken after intercourse. Meanwhile, in state legislatures, women's groups are pushing for laws requiring health insurance plans to cover birth control and hospitals to dispense emergency contraception to sexual assault victims. However, pharmacists and Catholic hospitals that morally object to birth control are also pressing state lawmakers to expand “conscience clause” exemptions that allow health providers to refuse to provide some legally required services if they have moral or religious objections.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Birth Control
Jun. 24, 2005  Birth-Control Debate
Jul. 29, 1994  Birth Control Choices
May 15, 1993  Preventing Teen Pregnancy
Nov. 11, 1988  Birth Control: the Choices Are Limited
Jun. 07, 1972  Contraceptives and Society
Sep. 04, 1968  Birth Control in Latin America
Nov. 09, 1966  Oral Contraceptives
Oct. 15, 1958  Status of Birth Control
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Abortion, Contraception and Reproductive Issues
Population Control
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