Friday, March 03, 2006

Wal-Mart Bows to Public Pressure, Pledges to Stock the 'Morning-After' Pill

Today Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called Wal-Mart's decision to end its policy against stocking the "morning-after" pill a step forward for American women's health and reproductive freedom. However, the retailer also said it would allow pharmacists to refuse to fill these prescriptions if they personally oppose birth control.

"Thousands of our members in all 50 states urged Wal-Mart to end its policy of refusing to stock the 'morning-after' pill. Today's decision means the company is starting to get the message: Corporations should not decide what medicines women may or may not take," Keenan said. "It's unfortunate that Wal-Mart will allow pharmacists to refuse to fill women's prescriptions for the morning-after pill. This decision leaves the door open for women to lose access to this legally prescribed medication due to a pharmacist's personal beliefs. While today's announcement is a step forward, Wal-Mart missed a golden opportunity to make this a complete victory for American women."

NARAL Pro-Choice America, which has been a leader in calling on Wal-Mart to change this policy, channeled 31,176 Americans' petitions calling on the retailer to end this policy. This latest effort came on the heels of a lawsuit filed against Wal-Mart by three women in Massachusetts. NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, in partnership with NARAL Pro-Choice America, supported the lawsuit, launched the petition campaign, and sent a letter to CEO H. Lee Scott Jr. on February 13 urging him to reverse the policy.

The morning-after pill is an emergency contraceptive that is highly effective in preventing pregnancy if taken within 120 hours of unprotected sex, contraceptive failure, or sexual assault.

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