* Rape survivors are denied access to EC by hospital workers and prison staff.
* Individuals without photo identification have difficulty accessing EC because of the restrictions.
* West Virginia policymakers have repeatedly been told that EC causes an abortion (not true), creating confusion and heated politicking when bills aimed at promoting insurance coverage of prenatal care and contraceptive access for dependent daughters could be passed (see the 2012 West Virginia Senate Bill 194).
* Eighty-two percent of teen pregnancies are unintended. Teen pregnancy is a prominent cause of West Virginia's high dropout rate, with 30 percent of West Virginia teens citing teen pregnancy as the reason they dropped out of school. Increased, evidence-based access to EC could give these teens a second chance to prevent pregnancy and stay in school.
The science supporting EC hasn't changed, but the politics have. The Obama administration should now understand that the women, young voters, and communities of color who stood in line at the polls did so in part because access to contraception, and the choice it represents in all our lives, is important. It is time to send a clear signal to Secretary Sebelius that women's reproductive health and science should be the driving force behind public policy. A broad coalition of health professionals and advocates has launched a petition to urge Secretary Sebelius to revisit the evidence and remove the restrictions.
As clear-headed West Virginians, let's do our part to keep us moving into the 21st century. Let's demonstrate the strong consensus for common sense public policy that puts health and science over political ideology and indeed, over political party. Please log on to wvfree.org to sign the petition in support of healthy youth and ensure your voice is heard.
Pomponio is executive director of WV FREE and the WV FREE Action Fund which advocate for reproductive health and education of all West Virginians.