Contraceptive bill expected to pass

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(Host) Vermont would become the seventh state to allow pharmacists to dispense the so-called “morning-after” contraceptive pill without a prescription, under a bill approved by a House committee.

The medication, called “Plan B,” inhibits ovulation and can prevent a woman from getting pregnant for up to 120 hours after having unprotected sex.

The bill would allow pharmacists to enter into agreements with doctors that would allow the pharmacists to distribute the drug on an emergency basis.

Backers of the bill say it will prevent unwanted pregnancies and abortions. The Catholic Diocese of Burlington opposes the bill. The Vermont Right-to-Life Committee says it opposes any drug that prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman’s uterus.

Representative Ann Pugh is chair of the House Human Services Committee, which gave the bill a strong endorsement:

(Pugh) “There’s been more positive reaction than one might imagine. This is not abortion, this is contraception. This is dealing with an emergency or a crisis situation where speed is of the essence.”

(Host) The House will debate the bill tomorrow and Representative Pugh says she expects it will pass.

The bill may be considered in the Senate next year.

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