Mar. 25 is Back Up Your Birth Control Day — a national reminder that, with proper information and preparation, we can take significant steps toward reducing the number of unintended pregnancies in the United States.

There are women in Michigan and across the country with no access to birth control. And even if they do have access, they nonetheless engage in unprotected sex or are impregnated because primary methods of birth control fail. And sadly, about 25,000 women become pregnant every year in the United States as the result of sexual assault.

There is, however, a safe, FDA-approved method of birth control that can prevent these women from having unintended pregnancies — emergency contraception. For years, it has been available to hospitals and healthcare providers as an option to help prevent rape survivors from becoming pregnant and suffering the trauma of unwanted pregnancies. Rape survivors deserve information about and access to emergency contraception.

But denial clauses in many state laws allow hospitals to refuse women emergency contraception under any circumstances. A staggering proportion of hospitals, particularly faith-based hospitals, are using these clauses to deny sexual assault survivors emergency contraception. Emergency contraception is an option that significantly reduces the risk of pregnancy if started within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse. By refusing emergency contraception, these hospitals are not only jeopardizing women’s health but are also disregarding women’s rights while deciding what is in their best medical interests.

All women should have access to comprehensive and equitable medical care, regardless of which hospital they go to. To ensure that right, we must implore Congress to support emergency contraception and “back up” our birth control.

Andrew Kravis
LSA senior

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