OLR Bill Analysis

SB 1343 (File 231, as amended by Senate “A”)*

AN ACT CONCERNING COMPASSIONATE CARE FOR VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT.

SUMMARY:

This bill establishes standard of care requirements for each licensed health care facility providing emergency treatment to female sexual assault victims. Each facility must promptly:

1. provide a victim with medically and factually accurate and objective information about emergency contraception;

2. inform her of emergency contraception's availability, use, and efficacy; and

3. provide her emergency contraception at the facility at her request, except it does not have to provide emergency contraception to a woman who is pregnant based on a U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved pregnancy test.

The bill prohibits a facility from determining its protocol for standard of care compliance on any basis other than an FDA-approved pregnancy test.

The bill allows a facility to contract with one or more independent providers to: (1) ensure compliance at the facility with the standard of care requirements and (2) conduct forensic exams of victims at the facility in accordance with the state of Connecticut Technical Guidelines for Health Care Response to Victims of Sexual Assault, published by the Commission on the Standardization of the Collection of Evidence in Sexual Assault Investigations.

*Senate Amendment “A” replaces the original bill (File 231) and modifies certain aspects of it. The original bill required the facility to provide the same information about emergency contraception and to dispense emergency contraception to the victim at her request. The amendment

1. adds the “standard of care” requirements,

2. creates a pregnancy exception to the requirement to provide emergency contraception and prohibits the facility from determining its protocol for complying with the standard of care on any basis other than the FDA-approved pregnancy test,

3. allows a facility to contract with an independent provider to fulfill the standard of care requirements at the facility, and

4. removes the original bill's requirement that the public health commissioner adopt implementing regulations.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION

Under the bill, “emergency contraception” means one or more prescription drugs used separately or in combination and administered to or self-administered by a patient to prevent pregnancy, within a medically recommended time frame after intercourse, and dispensed for that purpose, consistent with professional standards of practice and determined safe by the FDA.

MEDICALLY AND FACTUALLY ACCURATE AND OBJECTIVE

The bill defines “medically and factually accurate and objective” as verified or supported by the weight of research conducted in compliance with accepted scientific methods and published in peer-reviewed journals where applicable.

INDEPENDENT PROVIDER

Under the bill, an “independent provider” means a licensed physician, physician assistant, advanced practice registered nurse, registered nurse, nurse-midwife, all of whom are trained to conduct a forensic exam in accordance with the state of Connecticut Technical Guidelines for Health Care Response to Victims of Sexual Assault, published by the Commission on the Standardization of the Collection of Evidence in Sexual Assault Investigations.

VICTIM OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

The bill defines “victim of sexual assault” as any female person who alleges or is alleged to have suffered an injury as a result of a sexual offense. It defines “sexual offense” as:

1. 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree sexual assault;

2. 1st degree aggravated sexual assault;

3. sexual assault in a spousal or cohabiting relationship;

4. 3rd degree sexual assault with a firearm;

5. 1st degree promoting prostitution of a person less than 16 years old;

6. 2nd degree promoting prostitution of a person less than 18 years old;

7. enticing a minor under age 16 to engage in prostitution or sexual activity using a computer service; or

8. employing or promoting a child under age 18 in an obscene performance.

BACKGROUND

Emergency Contraception

Plan B (levonorgestrel) tablets, approved by the FDA for emergency contraception after intercourse, is now an over-the-counter drug for women age 18 and over, but remains prescription-only for those under age 18. Another similar drug called Preven remains a prescription drug.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Human Services Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

12

Nay

5

(03/15/2007)

Public Health Committee

Joint Favorable with recommendation

Yea

23

Nay

5

(04/20/2007)