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NH: Pharmacist Blocks Access to Emergency Contraception

A pharmacist in New Hampshire refused to fill a prescription for emergency contraception last month, adding to a long list of related incidents across the nation in which women have been thwarted from obtaining their time-sensitive legally prescribed medication. According to the Concord Monitor, Todd Sklencar of Brooks Pharmacy in Laconia, New Hampshire refused to fill Suzanne Richards prescription for emergency contraception (EC), also known as the morning-after pill. EC can be taken up to five days after unprotected intercourse to prevent pregnancy, although it is most effective if taken within 24 hours. Sklencars actions were in defiance of Brooks Pharmacys policy that pharmacists are not allowed to refuse a prescription based on personal beliefs. The state of New Hampshire does allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions, but requires that the customer be give a referral to a pharmacist who will fill the prescription. By the time Richards found another pharmacist to fill her prescription, it was too late for the medicine to be effective.

In June, New Hampshire Governor Craig Benson (R) vetoed a bill that would have allowed women to obtain emergency contraception directly from pharmacists. The bill would only have allowed EC to be accessible from pharmacists for women whose doctors agreed to the arrangement in advance.

The Feminist Majority Foundation leads a national drive on college campuses to increase the availability of EC for young women.

TAKE ACTION Urge the FDA to stop playing politics with women's lives

LEARN MORE about the Feminist Majority Foundations campaign to expand access to EC on college campuses

DONATE to support FMFs work to win over-the-counter status for emergency contraception

Media Resources: Concord Monitor 10/11/04; Feminist Daily News Wire 6/10/04, 9/21/04