Our 2009 study shows that over half (53%) of Missouri hospitals do not provide onsite access to emergency contraception (EC) in the emergency room. Even though the AMA, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, and the American College of Emergency Physicians' standard of care policies emphasize the importance of EC being part of a survivor's psychological care, most Missouri hospitals are failing to dispense the medication. This failure is often the result of misinformation about the use and effects of EC; while many assume EC to be the same as RU-486 (the abortion pill), EC is actually a medication that inhibits implantation so it cannot terminate an existing pregnancy. Please sign this petition to encourage Missouri hospitals to provide rape survivors with the care they need and deserve. No survivor should be subjected to an unwanted pregnancy after having been assaulted. Ask Missouri hospitals to make it standard emergency room practice that every survivor be provided with the option of EC.
We the undersigned would like to express our concern that an estimated 53% of Missouri hospitals do not provide onsite access to emergency contraception for victims of rape and sexual assault. We believe that helping victims of rape and sexual assault to avoid unwanted pregnancies should be part of every hospital's standard protocol, and the AMA, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the American College of Emergency Physicians agree with us.
Emergency contraception (EC) is not the abortion pill. Rather than terminating a preexisting pregnancy, EC works similarly to regular birth control pills in that it prevents a pregnancy before it begins. EC is both very effective and very safe; the FDA has approved the medication to be taken over-the-counter for women over eighteen years of age, and a recent New York court decision lowered that age to seventeen.
We hope that, in light of the information you will receive form us, you will reconsider your emergency room EC policies and raise the standard of care for victims of sexual assault and rape. By providing EC as an option to sexual assault survivors in your emergency room, you could help ensure that women who have been assaulted do not have to deal with the added stress of an unwanted pregnancy on top of the trauma they have just experienced. We urge you to consider bringing your policies up to date with the 47% of Missouri hospitals that currently provide the best standard of care for survivors of rape and sexual assault. Thank you for your time.