Bill could ban morning-after pill from System
A Wisconsin bill in the drafting process has some UW-Eau Claire officials and students concerned about the future availability of emergency contraceptives on campus.
State Rep. Dan LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, is drafting a bill that would prohibit the UW System or System campuses from advertising, prescribing and dispensing emergency contraception, also known as Plan B or the morning-after pill.
LeMahieu drafted the bill after University Health Services, which serves UW-Madison students, took out ads in campus newspapers that urged students to get advance prescriptions before leaving for spring break, according to an Associated Press article.
Senior and College Feminists member Jenny Day criticized the bill.
“It disturbs me – (that) would probably be the best way to put it,” she said. “It seems like it was reactionary to campuses promoting Plan B to take … on spring break.”
State Rep. Rob Kreibich, R-Eau Claire, agreed.
“I think the legislator was responding to spring break at UW-Madison,” he said. “He obviously doesn’t represent a college campus.”
Laura Chellman, director of Eau Claire Student Health Services, said she could see no positives of the bill’s passing, but emphasized that the bill has not yet been sponsored or introduced.
Chellman also questioned why the bill would prohibit emergency contraceptives only at Wisconsin public universities.
“It’s very narrowly focused on UW System campuses,” she said.
Freshman Dan Schauer said he does not support the availability of emergency contraceptives on campuses, saying that the government refrain from involvement.
“You can’t have it both ways,” he said. “If these people don’t want the government involved in restricting abortion, they shouldn’t want the government involved in promoting emergency contraceptives.”
Last week, Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager said in an informal opinion that the bill would likely be unconstitutional and unfairly targets only female students.
However, LeMahieu said he is moving forward with the legislation and is looking for co-sponsors, according to the Associated Press.
Chellman said she has been in contact with other health service directors in the UW System about the bill and said the issue will be brought up in their meeting later this month.
Eau Claire provides a wide range of birth control to students, including emergency contraceptives, she said.
“We certainly do have a demand for (emergency contraceptives), and we like to be responsive to students’ health care needs,” Chellman said.
Day agreed, saying the university’s services were more than adequate.
“I’m very impressed with the university,” she said. “They offer basically anything you could want.”
Day said College Feminists took part in a “Back Your Birth Control Day,” which occurred just a few days before spring break and was a nationwide effort in support of Plan B.
They are also pushing for the Food and Drug Administration to make it available over the counter, she said.