EC for sexual assault survivors in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission has approved a regulation proposed by the Department of Health requiring hospitals to provide sexual assault survivors with emergency contraception (EC). Hospitals may apply for an exemption from the rule for religious or moral reasons as long as they arrange to transport patients to a facility that does provide it. The legislature is considering a bill, sponsored by Rep. Daylin Leach, which could preempt the new regulations. HB 288 would require all hospitals to provide sexual assault survivors with information about and access to EC, which can reduce the chance of unintended pregnancy by 95 percent if taken within 24 hours of the assault. Rep. Leach has estimated that half of Pennsylvania’s hospitals do not routinely provide EC to survivors of sexual assault. Voting on the bill was pushed back to give legislators more time to consider their position, but a vote is expected next Monday. For more information, read CPA’s Emergency Contraception for Sexual Assault Victims policy brief and model legislation. [Philadelphia Inquirer]