Senate Democrats push increased access to emergency contraception for rape victims

Congressional Republicans could oppose the bill -- but women will likely form a key voting bloc in the midterms

Published September 24, 2014 1:56PM (EDT)

Sen. Patty Murray      (AP/Elaine Thompson)
Sen. Patty Murray (AP/Elaine Thompson)

On Tuesday, a group of Senate Democrats introduced a bill that would boost access to emergency contraception for rape victims by requiring all federally funded hospitals -- under Medicare or Medicaid -- to provide it to survivors upon request.

According to Talking Points Memo, the Emergency Contraception Access and Education Act of 2014, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., will introduce new requirements for the treatment of sexual assault victims:

It says a contraceptive drug must be provided if it is approved by the FDA and "prevents pregnancy primarily by preventing or delaying ovulation, and does not terminate an established pregnancy." The bill also requires the hospitals to submit data about emergency contraceptives.

Sen. Murray told Time that the bill is a response to Republican measures to prevent women from accessing healthcare. “As we saw in the aftermath of the Hobby Lobby decision, and as we’ve seen in state legislatures across the country, Republicans are intent on standing in the way of women and their ability to make their own decisions about their own bodies and their own health care,” Murray said. “This means, now more than ever, it is our job to protect these kinds of decisions for women, their families, and particularly for survivors of sexual assault. Emergency contraception is a critical part of these family planning choices and it’s time Republicans join us in supporting this safe and responsible means of preventing unintended pregnancies.”

By Jenny Kutner

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Contraception D-wash. Emergency Contraception Incest Patty Murray Plan B Rape Senate Democrats Sexual Assault