UW ad angers abortion critics.

  1. uw ad angers abortion critics

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]by nahal toosi, milwaukee journal sentinel
    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]wtmj-tv and jsonline.com

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]the university of wisconsin-madison's health services division has been publishing newspaper ads encouraging students to have emergency contraception - the so-called morning-after pill - on hand during spring break, a move that is rankling abortion critics in the state.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]the ad, which began running in the university's two student newspapers, the daily cardinal and the badger herald, about a week ago, advises students to get the contraceptives by calling university health services and getting a prescription over the phone, with no appointment necessary.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]the morning-after pill, a dosage of high hormone pills designed to disrupt the usual process of pregnancy, has been around for many years, but remains a controversial subject. although many health care providers, as well as the american medical association, believe the contraceptive is safe enough to sell over the counter, the food and drug administration has not approved that method of distribution.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]the pills work in complex ways, including preventing sperm and egg from joining and altering the lining of the uterus, which would keep a fertilized egg from implanting. the latter is what many abortion opponents find objectionable.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]the morning-after pill is not the same thing as ru-486, a pill that induces abortions. the university's ad describes the contraceptive as "two pills that you take within 72 hours of unprotected sex to substantially reduce the chance of becoming pregnant."

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]it is one of a series of ads - paid for with student fees - that the university runs before spring break. others warn students to practice safe sex, protect their skin from the sun and beware of how much alcohol they drink. it's not the first year the ads have discussed emergency contraception, said kathleen poi, executive director of university health services. uw-madison does not have classes march 19-27.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]peggy hamill, state director of pro-life wisconsin, said the university was "reckless" to promote the contraceptive, which she said could have serious side-effects.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]"it appears very clearly to be a misuse of a prescription drug," hamill said. "the way it is to be prescribed is not for stocking-up purposes. my understanding is that it is supposed to be prescribed by a physician in an actual one-time instance when it is perceived by that physician to be necessary."

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]poi said there was nothing improper about the ads and said providing the pills before an emergency occurs is a common and acceptable health-care strategy.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]"it is a strategy that students can use to avoid the unwanted effects of decisions they make when they are on spring break," poi said. "sometimes they let their guard down, they don't make the best decision that they could. or they're following the safer sex practices and the condom breaks. if they're here in madison, they know who to call. if they're in florida or cancun, that's not an easy option."

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]but hamill said the ads were, "an insult to women. it trivializes the marriage act to begin with, and i think it's insulting to the self-esteem and dignity of women. we must give women more credit than to assume people are going to get 'crazy' " during spring break.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]poi said student fees, and not state tax dollars, paid for the advertisements. she was unaware of the exact cost on friday.

    [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]the badger herald's advertising officials declined to say how much they charged to run the ad three times. a daily cardinal official said the paper charged $196 for each of the three times it published the ad.

    '[font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]url: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7164215/