Thank you for your front-page story (July 7 Empire) regarding the proposed change in regulations that will severely limit the right of women to emergency contraception. I am appalled at the restrictions proposed regarding the "morning-after pill." Requiring expensive physical examinations and erecting more barriers to desperate women is outright cruelty. If implemented, this change will severely limit access to the poor, the uninsured, rape victims, victims of child molestation and others.
I also strongly object to the manner in which notice was given to the public. If it were not for the article that your paper published, I would not have known that this regulation proposal existed. Although the notice provided by the Department of Commerce may have technically complied with the law, it did not comply with the spirit of it. This is a highly controversial issue and of great interest to many Alaskans.
I strongly urge that the comment period be extended another 30 days. I propose that there be public hearings throughout the state, and that the contents of the proposed regulations be published in the newspaper.
These proposed regulation changes are detrimental to the health and well being of Alaska's citizens and the manner in which the Department of Commerce and the governor's office proposed to implement them borders on the secretive, if not devious. At least theoretically, we are still a democracy and as citizens retain full representation. Open public hearings will allow the people of Alaska to present their views and assert their rights to freedom of choice.
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