Demanding the Option of Emergency Contraceptives for Rape Victims, 97 Members of Congress Urge DOJ to Revise National Guidelines
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-14), Michael Michaud (ME-02) and a bipartisan group of 95 of their colleagues urged the Justice Department to help rape victims avoid unwanted pregnancies by including the option of emergency contraception (EC) in its National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examination (PDF of letter). The Department’s first-ever medical guidelines for treating sexual-assault victims currently excludes any mention of EC, commonly called the “Morning-After Pill,” even though earlier draft versions did contain references to EC.
Reps. Maloney and Michaud and their colleagues expressed their serious concern to Diane M. Stuart, Director of the Office on Violence Against Women, and strongly urged her to amend the protocol.
“Deleting the mere mention of emergency contraception from the guidelines may cause thousands of rape victims to unnecessarily struggle with unwanted pregnancies,” said Maloney. “Politics should never eclipse sound science and health care. It is clear that the administration’s ideological opposition to choice now even extends to rape victims. Women who are sexually violated at the very least deserve the right to prevent unwanted pregnancies.”
“The Justice Department's decision to keep information about emergency contraception away from victims of sexual assault makes no sense,” said Michaud. “Women need to know about this option quickly. It helps prevent pregnancy, and it is an important part of a comprehensive treatment guide for victims.”
The Justice Department’s exclusion of EC in its national protocol runs counter to the consensus of most of the nation’s top organizations and scientists. The American College of Emergency Physicians includes EC in its sexual assault protocols, and the American College of Gynecology explicitly recommends that EC should be offered to all victims if they are at risk of pregnancy.