In 2005, a survey revealed that of 151 Ohio hospitals, only two would give out the morning-after pill to women who called in looking for it -- even if they had a prescription
. One in four even denied the drug for rape victims. For women, the results were surprising and appalling.
“I knew it was inevitable some hospitals would refuse to prescribe it," Kellie Copeland, the executive director of NARAL, said at the time. But even she was “horrified” at the results.
Two years later, Copeland and her staff conducted a follow-up to see if policies had changed. The results were not what she hoped for.
Today, 56 percent of hospitals that responded said they would not provide emergency contraception. Seven percent still refuse to give the pill out to rape victims.
“I hoped we would have made a bit more progress than that,” Copeland says. She believes that hospital employees are not up to date on the latest research and laws, touting the pill’s safety and effectiveness – including the FDA’s decision last year to allow emergency contraception to be sold over the counter.
What this shows, says Copeland, is that “there needs to be a mandate by the state government that at minimum when a woman gets raped she should be able to get emergency contraception.” – Rebecca Meiser