The Alabama Department of Public Health is not required to distribute emergency contraceptives, also called "morning after pills," at its family planning clinics.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson says in a letter to an Alabama Congressman that the state is not required to distribute the pills to receive federal funding.
U.S. Representative Robert Aderholt says he asked Thompson to clarify federal rules after workers began distributing the pills at state clinics earlier this year.
The family planning director for the health department, Doctor Tom Miller, says the clinics will continue to distribute the emergency contraceptives.
Miller says the emergency contraceptives do not cause a woman to abort a growing fetus, but instead prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the lining of the uterus.