WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- A recent survey conducted on behalf of
the Reproductive Health Technologies Project by Peter D. Hart Research
Associates, Inc. in New Jersey and Oregon found favorable attitudes toward
widespread access to emergency contraception (EC) among voters and
pharmacists. Emergency contraception works to prevent pregnancy after
unprotected sex, and is available by prescription in the United States.
The survey of 506 voters and 103 pharmacists in New Jersey and 503 voters
and 105 pharmacists in Oregon found that approximately six in ten voters
(62% NJ, 64% OR), and the same proportion of pharmacists (63% NJ, 69% OR)
favor emergency contraception being broadly accessible to all women.(1)
The survey also examined participants' reactions to so-called "conscience
clauses," legislation that grants individual pharmacists the right to refuse
to dispense medications -- including EC -- which conflict with their moral or
"This study echoes what we in the reproductive health field have known for
years," said Nancy Yanofsky, President, ProChoice Resource Center. "The
public wants access to important reproductive health options such as emergency
contraception, and they do not want their access to these options restricted."
Both pharmacists and the general public expressed strong opposition to
so-called "conscience clauses." Nearly half (48%) of New Jersey pharmacists
and 54% of Oregon pharmacists feel that pharmacists should be allowed to
refuse to fill a prescription on moral grounds only if the pharmacy where they
work has established procedures for ensuring that patients are not denied
access to these drugs as a result. Voters are even more vehement than
pharmacists in their opposition to conscience clauses. Eight in ten voters
(79%) in New Jersey and seven in ten (69%) in Oregon oppose conscience clause
legislation. In addition, a majority of voters (60% NJ, 53% OR) feel that
pharmacists should never be allowed to refuse medications to patients because
of their own religious or moral objectives -- even when they are presented
with the alternative of allowing pharmacists to refuse prescriptions as long
as the pharmacy has a procedure for ensuring that patients are not denied
"The public is right to be suspicious of 'conscience clauses' for
pharmacists. Like other health care providers, pharmacists have a
professional duty to meet patients' medical needs," said Catherine Weiss,
Director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. "The conscientious
decision about whether to obtain or use emergency contraception must
ultimately be the patient's."
These findings of widespread opposition to conscience clauses are
particularly noteworthy in light of recent efforts by a vocal minority of
pharmacists to brand EC as morally objectionable and to limit women's access
For more information or to contact a health care provider near you, call
the Emergency Contraception Hotline at 888-NOT-2-LATE (888-668-2528) or visit
the Emergency Contraception Web site at http://not-2-late.com .
(1)The survey had a margin of error of +/- 4.5%.
The Reproductive Health Technologies Project was founded in 1988 to
provide public education and build understanding of safe and effective
reproductive health technologies for women.
For a complete copy of the survey or for more information, please contact
Pamela Long at 212-415-2099 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CONTACT: Pamela Long of Elgin DDB, 212-415-2099, or email@example.com,
for the Reproductive Health Technologies Project.
SOURCE Reproductive Health Technologies Project