Congressman aims to ban contraceptive

As a former sexual assault nurse examiner, it is painful to see female sexual assault victims victimized a second time by politicians who seek to block emergency contraception after a rape. Plan B is FDA-approved and used across the country by sexual assault programs, doctors and hospitals to prevent unwanted pregnancy after a sexual assault.

New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith is seeking to ban Plan B. Plan B works by slowing ovulation, thus preventing fertilization from the rape. It will not harm an existing pregnancy and can be effective up to 120 hours after an assault.

Women should not have a pregnancy forced upon them, either by a rapist or a politician. Women must have the right to choose whether to receive emergency contraception after being raped. That choice should be an informed one, based upon personal beliefs and accurate medical information from doctors and nurses. Most religions allow some form of contraception after a sexual assault, including the Catholic Church, as per Section 36 of the 2009 “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Services,” which states that “a female who has been raped should be able to defend herself against a potential conception from the sexual assault. If, after appropriate testing, there is no evidence that conception has occurred already, she may be treated with medications that would prevent ovulation, sperm capacitation or fertilization.”

Plan B meets these criteria. It is time for politicians like Congressman Smith to stop interfering with the care of rape victims.

Alice Lloyd, RN