- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 26, 2003

RICHMOND (AP) James Madison University stopped providing "morning-after" contraceptives despite guidance weeks earlier from the attorney general to defer action on the pills until he could craft a statewide position on them.
A senior assistant to Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore sent e-mails April 4 to lawyers in his office assigned to public colleges and universities notifying them about letters the General Assembly's most stalwart abortion foe sent to JMU criticizing distribution of the pills.
"We asked all of the [state-supported] schools to wait to respond until we could look at the legal questions on this. We didn't want 10 different schools having 10 different reactions," Mr. Kilgore's press secretary, Tim Murtaugh, said yesterday.
JMU's board of visitors voted April 18 to stop selling the pills to its students after Delegate Robert G. Marshall, Prince William County Republican, wrote to JMU President Linwood H. Rose on March 19 saying the school could face liability problems if it continues to distribute the pills on campus.
Mr. Kilgore's assistant sent the e-mail after the Attorney General's Office learned of Mr. Marshall's letter March 31, Mr. Murtaugh said.
Mr. Marshall said in the letter that JMU had misnamed the pill "emergency contraception" when the medication could cause an abortion.
Mr. Marshall, who is not a lawyer, called the school's attention to Virginia's informed-consent law. It requires an abortion provider to offer information about abortion and alternatives 24 hours before the procedure, and to obtain informed, written consent from a woman before she undergoes the procedure.
Mr. Murtaugh said the Attorney General's Office will decide whether the drug falls under the state's informed-consent law.
Physicians at JMU's health center still prescribe the drug, but the students must now go off-campus to buy it.



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