The Connecticut Catholic Conference sent out an e-mail alert Friday discussing its positions on a half dozen legislative issues. The section on Plan B includes a link to the Catholic Hospital Emergency Rape Victim Protocol discussed earlier on FIC Blog:


Senate Bill 685, “An Act Concerning Compassionate Care For Victims of Sexual Assault”, has been proposed in the Public Health Committee.  A similar bill is scheduled to be raised in the Human Services Committee. The purpose of these bills is to insure that every victim of sexual assault has access to emergency contraception ( Plan B ) in all Connecticut hospitals, including Catholic hospitals. Connecticut’s Catholic hospitals already provide Plan B to the vast majority of rape victims. It is only in a very rare case, when the medication will destroy a conceived life, resulting in an abortion, that the hospitals will refuse to administer the drug. These bills would force Catholic hospitals to provide the pill even when it may result in the abortion of a conceived human life.
  The media has been full of misinformation on this issue and the procedures Catholic hospitals follow. This legislation is supported by all the major national abortion rights organizations. When all the facts are considered the issue is really one of a conflict between abortion rights and religious freedom.  PLEASE READ THE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS BELOW AND THEN CONTACT YOUR STATE SENATOR AND REPRESENTATIVE. URGE THEM TO PROTECT THE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM OF CATHOLIC HOSPITALS. CATHOLIC INSTITUTIONS HAVE A RIGHT TO BE CATHOLIC.
The four Catholic hospitals of Connecticut issued a new protocol concerning the treatment of rape victims with Plan B effective January 1, 2006. The purpose of this protocol was to insure that all Catholic hospitals were providing quality, consistent and compassionate medical care to rape victims, while acting within Catholic teaching concerning the sanctity of all human life. The protocol adheres to Directive 36 of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, “Compassionate and understanding care should be given to a person who is the victim of sexual assault…” The protocol  followed  by the Connecticut Catholic hospitals adheres to the national standard endorsed by the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

Questions and Answers:     Survey of Connecticut Catholic Hospitals

Catholic Hospital Emergency Rape Victim Protocol (pdf)      

The above links provide the answers our liberal correspondents wanted on the data used to determine if the victim is pregnant. And as noted in the Q and A, even the manufacturer of “Plan B” says on its own web site that the drug may work by preventing the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus (some proponents of the “Plan B” bill have suggested this is not so). Also, on the difference between Connecticut’s Catholic hospitals and neighboring states, there is this:

10)   Do Catholic hospitals in New York and New Jersey follow a different protocol
       than  Connecticut?
However, the protocol followed by Connecticut’s Catholic hospitals is endorsed by the National Catholic Bioethics Center.  Illinois and Pennsylvania follow a protocol similar to Connecticut’s and we anticipate that these will become the mainline standard for Catholic health care nationally.  When New York and New Jersey adopted legislation concerning the distribution of Plan B to rape victims, no such standard was in place.

It seems that Connecticut’s Catholic hospitals have incurred the wrath of the abortion industry by being among the first to adopt a policy that will eventually be adopted by all the nation’s Catholic hospitals. In addition to the obvious infringment on religious liberty, Connecticut’s Plan B bill may be intended as a pro-abortion threat to the Catholic hospitals of other states: If you craft a protocol that faithfully adheres to the teachings of your Church we will do to you what we are trying to do to your peers in Connecticut. 

11 Responses to “Church Responds to Pro-Abortion Attack On Religious Liberty”

  1. on 18 Feb 2007 at 11:06 pmmatt

    The issue at hand isn’t stopping Catholics from being Catholic, but in forcing non-Catholics to obey the dictates of the religion in a government-licensed medical facility. Don’t like it? Do something that doesn’t require licensing.

  2. on 18 Feb 2007 at 11:06 pmmatt

    By the way, it’s funny how your blogging software shows what you’ve copied-and-pasted from elsewhere without attribution.

  3. on 19 Feb 2007 at 5:46 amPeter

    Um, Matt, I say right in the post that the quote is from the CT Catholic Conference e-mail. And I note that with your first comment you guys have just moved the bar from “If the hospitals receive public money” they must provide Plan B to “if they’re licensed.” See how much fun reading comprehension can be?

  4. on 19 Feb 2007 at 8:59 amNaCN

    I posted the following last night on the “Granny Angst” thread, but it bears repeating here:

    I believe that [Gabe’s] proposals come close to solving the moral dilemma posed by the proposed legislation. In addition to having the state 1) purchase the drugs and 2) pay for the employees who administer them, as [Gabe] suggest[s], I believe one further small step would resolve the problem. 3) The state should provide its own facility. It could be in the same neighborhood as the hospital and, I suspect, needn’t be more than a small room. Almost certainly there are clinics by the hospitals that would be more than happy to provide that service to the state. If the state pays for the drugs and the personnel, it seems reasonable to me that they also pay for the facility.

    Back on January 25 I made that suggestion . . . on another thread and added the following:

    “That solution should be acceptable to any rational person. However, it probably would not fly at the legislature for two reasons. First, the legislators would say, ‘Why set up a clinic when all they have to do is drive to a pharmacy?’ . . . ”

    So, in reality, pharmacies already serve as separate facilities. [Now we know that the hospitals will arrange for transport to a facility in the community.] Thus, when I look at the bill I see a solution in search of a problem. Put another way, no one has stated that women have not been able to get the drug. This leads me to the second conclusion I stated on January 25:

    “Second, and related to the first, this bill never has been about ready access to an abortion. It is all about shutting down opposition to abortion in Connecticut. Period.”

    That is where all of the evidence points me. If you do not agree, at least [Gabe is] two thirds of the way to a solution. If you are willing to take that last step and ask that the state also provide the facility, then we have a solution . . . .

  5. on 19 Feb 2007 at 9:04 amDave

    Illinois has a law called the “Health Care Right of Conscience Act” (745 ILCS 70), which protects the liberty of health care practitioners who refuse to provide a medical procedure, device or service that conflicts with their religious beliefs. You can read more about it here

    This sounds like a reasonable solution that properly allows for religious liberty without impairing the quality of medical care. Bravo to the folks from the “Land of Lincoln” for enacting this law. If only Nutmeggers would do the same.

  6. on 19 Feb 2007 at 9:25 amYawn

    Gee, I thought Plan B was a slap in the face to all Catholics, who universally opposed it. Except a CT poll showed the opposite, and the NY and NJ Churches have other procedures. The National Catholic Bioethics Center is not an official arm of the Church and neither they nor the CT Catholic Conference dictate the policy of the national Church.

    Why does the CT right wing expect the CT legislature to negotiate differences within the Catholic heirarchy? You’re just a fringe hate group grasping at straws.

  7. on 19 Feb 2007 at 9:33 amausblog

    World estimations of the number of terminations carried out each year is somewhere between 20 and 88 million.(likely 55 to 60)

    Over 3,500 per day / Over 1.3 million per year in America alone.

    50% of that 1.3 million claimed failed birth control was to blame.

    A further 48% had failed to use any birth control at all.

    And 2% had medical reasons.

    That means a staggering 98% of unwanted pregnancies may have been avoided had an effective birth control been used.

    People have to stop using abortion as birth control.

    People should be able to choose to use birth control,
    so as to avoid having to make another choice.

    I’d like to see effective birth control made available to all who can’t afford it.

  8. on 19 Feb 2007 at 12:12 pmmatt

    Peter, I have my own mind, unlike so many of your people. Gabe and everyone else can have their own opinions, I say that if you won’t cook meat you can’t run a restaurant, if you refuse to hire people because of their ethic backgrounds you can’t run a store, and if you deny rape victims medication you don’t get to run a hospital.

    Just because a hospital is run by a religious organization doesn’t give it a pass on meeting the standards set by society. You’re acting like these hospitals are built on sovereign ground!

  9. on 19 Feb 2007 at 2:54 pmDave

    I find it quite ironic that the Left would whole-heartedly embrace the rights of a “conscientious objector” who refuses military service on the basis of religious beliefs and an unwillingness to harm others, but come to an entirely opposite conclusion with respect to the conscientious objections of medical professionals who refuse for exactly the same fundamental reasons – on the basis of religious beliefs and an unwillingness to do what they perceive as harm to another. Why do we accommodate one category of belief, but not the other?

    What we are witnessing here in the EC debate is an example of the “dictatorship of relativism” that Pope Benedict XVI warned about in his pre-election address in 2005. The nonestablishment clause of the U.S. Constitution is supposed to protect religion from government interference, but relativists have turned this principle on its head and are using government policies as a weapon against religion and the principles of conscience that are informed by faith. For more background on this, I suggest reading John Mallon’s article “Conscience and the Dictatorship of Relativism” in the magazine “Inside the Vatican” –

    The folks on the Left would have us believe that whenever secular values conflict with religion, that religion must give way. They would have us believe that right and wrong are relative concepts, determined by Man, and subject to continual reinterpretation. That is a slippery slope indeed. Will any concept of absolute right and wrong remain intact?

    Moreover, the folks on the Left would have us believe that religion has no place in the debate over public policy. But when religion is excluded altogether from the thinking process in developing our collective public conscience, instead of taking its appropriate representative role, we do a disservice to our communities. Indeed, by failing to get involved in government, by failing to speak up and take action, we would be abandoning our society to a minority rulership by the relativists. While religion should not dictate government policy (we are not a theocracy), it can nevertheless inform and influence such policy. To suggest otherwise is to argue on behalf of another form of theocracy – a government based exclusively on anti-religion … wherein only those who abandon religious principles will be allowed to have any voice in governance.

    What is so wrong with asking for an accommodation on the EC question, so that conscientious objectors can be permitted to opt-out of medical procedures, devices and services that are contrary to their religious beliefs? It seems as though some who have posted here would actually prefer the Catholic hospitals to close their doors completely, rather than come to terms such a compromise. Would that really be what is best for our society? If that sounds like a far-fetched possibility, just consider what happened to the Catholic adoption services in Massachusetts.

  10. on 19 Feb 2007 at 6:32 pmAnnie Banno

    Firstly, to the blogmasters, “ausblog” above is a spambot trying to put in a link to a website for contraceptives. We’ve had numerous spam comments from that name (also known as prolifeboy, ironically) over on our blog. I’d advise deleting its comments and perhaps banning the IP if it happens again.

    Gabe, replying to your reply on the Granny Angst thread, since the EC discussion was moved here, you’d said on the earlier thread about all this: “The proposal on the table does not do that however – it simply says that all hospitals that accept public monies must have Plan B available. …But, if the bill passes, what the legislature will be saying is that all hospitals that accept public monies must have Plan B available to prevent rape victims from becoming impregnanted with their rapist’s babies.”

    To force Catholic hospitals and healthcare workers to “have Plan B available” is equal to forcing them to dispense it. What other purpose would “having it available” serve? To leave it in the dispensary? It’s vaguely worded legislation (if it’s actually worded that way). Perhaps the bill is a backdoor to the actual language of “forcing” so they can introduce that legislation later with the “forcing” wording. I don’t know.

    But bottom line, you advocate a bill that merely “makes it available” which is equal to advocating making Catholic hospitals dispense it, via any personnel on their premises, against their religious teachings. The hospitals certainly aren’t going to just leave it out in a big candy dish for rape victims to help themselves to it!

    So my original question to you was and remains valid: if you have the guts to force Catholics to “make it available”, i.e, dispense it, would you have the guts to force a Muslim healthcare practitioner to perform abortions or make abortion referrals, when that person believes as all schools of Islamic law do, that abortion is only allowed if the mother’s life is in serious danger otherwise, after 120 days of pregnancy?

    And matt, re: the ad hominem attacks (“Peter, I have my own mind, unlike so many of your people”) and the niggling distract-tactic that turned out to expose your own error (“it’s funny how your blogging software shows what you’ve copied-and-pasted from elsewhere without attribution”) are really not helping you. You may have missed a lot of this conversation as it’s gone on for weeks in various threads, but “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” is how the First Amendment reads.

    It isn’t sovereign ground, it’s U.S. of A. ground, and forcing Catholic, Muslim or any religious hospitals to do something that’s against their religious tenets is in fact prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

    I’m not sure how the similar issue reads in the state constitution or if it just refers to the U.S. Amendment; anyone have that?

    And as for “the standards set by society”? This “let’s get with the times”/”times have changed” argument isn’t worth pursuing as Society’s “standards” have all but bottomed out! Those aren’t “standards” worth “meeting” most of the time.

  11. on 21 Feb 2007 at 8:59 pmProgressive Catholic

    I hate to have to interrupt your arguments with a bit of science, but how could “pro-abortion” people be in favor of Plan B when Plan B explicitly prevents pregnancy and therefore prevents abortions?

    A woman does not become “pregnant” until a fertilized ovum becomes implanted in her uterus. That is the medical definition of pregnancy – it’s quite simple. Far more ova are fertilized through regular unprotected intercourse than the occurence of actual pregnancies. The ovum must implant in the uterus rather than be flushed out to develop into a pregnancy. Merely having a fertlized ovum in her body does not mean a woman is actually “pregnant” (ask any woman who has ever struggled with infertility!)

    There is no evidence at all that Plan B actually does prevent a fertilized ovum from implanting – the manufacturer says it is theoretically possible, but there have been no studies showing that Plan B actually does that. What Plan B has been shown to do is prevent ovulation.

    Regardless however, if if it is theoretically possible that Plan B could prevent implantation, the fact is that there is no pregnancy before implantation, and therefore there is no abortion if implantation does not occur. It’s so ridiculous for anyone to use the term “abortion” when referring to Plan B.

    This is not a debate about whether you consider every sperm to be sacred or every fertilized ovum to be as much of a human life as a grown man. You can be opposed to the destruction of fertilized ova without using the term “abortion”. Do you call the destruction of embryos in petri dishes “abortion”, too? (I hope not.) You can be opposed to that, too, without mis-using the term “abortion”.

    The only thing that Plan B has to do with abortions is in preventing the need for abortions in the first place.

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