Raleigh, N.C. — A bill filed last week would ban North Carolina schools from teaching students about the morning-after birth control pill.
House Bill 596 also would allow school districts to design their own sex education curriculum without any review by experts in the field.
Plan B, also known as the morning-after pill, is a widely available form of emergency contraception. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration two years ago made it available over the counter without a prescription.
Rep. Chris Whitmire, R-Transylvania, a primary sponsor of the bill, called Plan B a "life-ending drug" that can cause spontaneous abortion, and he said Monday that he doesn't want North Carolina students to know anything about it.
Current state law allows instruction of any FDA-approved contraceptive in sex education classes.
Melissa Reed, Planned Parenthood vice president for public affairs, said Plan B works to prevent fertilization and has no effect if a woman is already pregnant.
"Anti-choice groups around the country, they continue to argue that (Plan B causes spontaneous abortions), but in fact it's not true," Reed said. "There's been paper after paper, a research study and the FDA that have all said it does not work to affect a current pregnancy."
She also expressed concern that the bill would no longer require experts in sexual education to approve school districts' courses.
"I think that there will be increasing pressure to move back to an abstinence-based curriculum," she said, noting that teen pregnancy rates have dropped every year since the state began requiring schools to teach about contraception as well as abstinence. "My hope is that, not only will public school teachers push back on that, but also parents will say, 'No, this is the type of information I want my student to have.'"
Whitmire said local districts should have the right to choose a "values-based curriculum," and his bill would give parents more input.