Senate approves emergency contraception bill |

Senate approves emergency contraception bill

DENVER The Senate gave initial approval Monday to a measure that would require hospitals to tell rape victims about emergency contraceptives.The measure, which faces a third reading before it heads to the House, drew objections that it would force some church-affiliated hospitals to violate polices that are grounded in religious beliefs.Sen. Betty Boyd, D-Lakewood, said her bill (Senate Bill 60) would exempt individuals who have moral or religious objections, but those exemptions would not apply to the hospitals where they work.Emergency contraception is sold under the name Plan B and contains two pills that contain the same ingredients as birth control pills. One is taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex and the second is taken 12 hours after the first pill. It is not the abortion drug RU-486 and its makers say it will not stop a pregnancy once a fertilized egg is implanted in a woman’s uterus.Sen. Greg Brophy, a Republican from Wray, said emergency contraception could cause a fertilized egg not to implant, which he and others consider abortion. He said church-affiliated hospitals with moral or religious objections should have the same rights as individuals.Brophy said the bill recognizes “an individual freedom of religion” but not an institutional freedom.”I am disturbed that a hospital that is supported by an organization like the Catholic church would be covered by this bill, that for some reason the hospital doesn’t qualify for the same type of consideration for their beliefs” that an individual does, Brophy said.He said the bill is better than the one vetoed last year by then-Gov. Bill Owens because it required hospitals only to inform patients about the availability of the pill. The bill last year would have required pharmacists to dispense it.Owens, a Republican, said he vetoed the measure because he said it “strays radically” from accepted medical practice and would have allowed minors to get emergency contraception without permission from a parent.

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