The Church has rejected a “compromise” that would have made its hospitals complicit in providing chemical abortions. The pro-abortion attack on religious liberty is one of the hottest topics at our state capitol this year, but in a “don’t stir up the natives” move the Courant buries the news on page B10:

Despite continued Catholic opposition, the state Senate plans to vote today on a bill that requires Connecticut hospitals to provide Plan B birth control pills to rape victims.

The vote marks the end of negotiations with officials of the state’s four Catholic hospitals, who object to the law because they say it could violate the religious ban on abortion.

Lawmakers had attempted to reach a compromise with the church, but those efforts broke down this week. The bill is said to have enough support to pass both houses by comfortable margins.

The bill, which has already been amended in an effort to address Catholic concerns, allows hospitals to give rape victims a pregnancy test and allows them to call an independent health care provider to dispense the emergency contraceptives if hospital employees cannot do so.

Several weeks ago, Catholic leaders asked an ethicist to review the proposal and said they would accept it if it was deemed to respect religious doctrines. No information was available late Tuesday about why church leaders ultimately rejected the so-called third-party option.

Church leaders rejected it because several Catholic ethicists whom they ran the supposed “compromise” by all said it violated Catholic moral teaching. Their response is no surprise. Suppose you contract with someone to kill your spouse. Question: Who’s going to prison? Answer: Both of you.

But what is interesting here–and what isn’t getting the attention it deserves–is how much the Church has gone out of its way to see if there is any possibility for legitimate compromise with its Plan B antagonists.

Despite the obvious answer to the third party option, Church leaders submitted the proposal to several experts in the hope that there was a solution they missed. The pro-abortion side claims that Connecticut Catholic leaders are unyielding. But the actual hospital protocol is very accomodating, providing Plan B to rape victims in all but those rarest of instances when it might cause an abortion and, even in those instances, transportation to other hospitals to obtain the drug. It was for that reason that even “pro-choicers” like Gov. Rell and the Courant’s editorial board opposed the initial 2006 pro-abortion attack on the hospitals. And while opponents paint the Connecticut Catholic hospitals’ protocol as especially intransigent, the Church and FIC are hearing from Catholics who say it’s not intransigent enough–that the Church should not provide transportation to other hospitals or even that it should not provide Plan B at all. If there is a middle position in all of this, it is the one already staked out by the Catholic Church in Connecticut.

Which is why pro-abortion legislators and their allies are determined to misrepresent or ignore the facts. There is this, for instance, in the New London Day:

“I’m very disappointed with the Catholic Conference’s decision,” [Sen. Jonathan] Harris [D-West Hartford] said in a written statement. “We’ve worked for months on this bill. It’s even stronger than Plan B laws that were approved by Catholic archdioceses in New Jersey, New York and Minnesota. I don’t know why what’s good enough for millions of Catholics in other states is so unacceptable in Connecticut.”

But, Sen. Harris, the Church already explained why:

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 [emphasis added].  When New York and New Jersey adopted legislation concerning the distribution of Plan B to rape victims, no such standard was in place.

Sen. Harris may not like that answer, but if he’s serious about negotiations he ought to at least acknowledge it. Here was my own response to it:

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.

What was “stronger” in Sen. Harris’ proposal was the contracting clause which, as noted above, would not allow Church institutions to faithfully adhere to their own teachings.

Also, if the pro-Plan B side is serious about negotaitions, why then give this quote to The Day:

“We are very surprised and disappointed that the Catholic Conference has decided to cease negotiations and has backed away from the progress we’ve made toward a third-party solution,” said Rep. Deborah Heinrich, D-Madison, who noted that the proposal to have an outside party distribute the medication was actually suggested, in a March memo on the negotiations, by the Catholic Conference.

That was a private memo–an early first draft in the negotiations–that was never intended for the public (“lawmakers distributed [the memo] to reporters” The Day article says). As noted by The Day, the memo didn’t specifically require a 3rd party to distribute Plan B. And–here’s the part “lawmakers” forgot to mention–it was immediately rejected by the pro-Plan B side!

The Senate is voting today on the Plan B bill and pro-religious liberty legislators are considering possible amendments. But the real battle will be in the House. And, if it comes to that, in court.  

12 Responses to “No Compromise With Pro-Abortion Attack on Religious Liberty”

  1. on 25 Apr 2007 at 1:44 pmmatt

    I have to say that Lou DeLuca made the suggestions that formed the basis for the compromise — which the “Church” rejected.

    It’s interesting that you say the “real battle will be in the House” — since last week it was looking like the real battle was going to be in the Senate. What happened to your amendments? Wasn’t there going to be a debate on the amendments before the roll call vote?

    I think the real news here is that some once-reliable allies in the legislature are no longer inclined to trust you.

  2. on 25 Apr 2007 at 2:23 pmDave

    A letter from Bishop William Lori (Diocese of Bridgeport) was printed in today’s Connecticut Post, within the editorial section, regarding the pending “Plan B” legislation.

    The same remarks are also available online through Bishop Lori’s “blog” at

    After a thoughtful analysis of the issue from the perspective of the Catholic church, he concludes by saying:

    If the religious liberty of a Catholic hospital can be violated on this issue, what’s next? Will the law insist that Catholic hospitals further violate their ethical standards by performing second trimester abortions? Or will the law someday force Catholic hospitals to euthanize those deemed not fit to live? Two basic principles are being violated by the current Plan B legislation: respect for human life at all stages and religious liberty. This is a long road without a turning. Please contact your legislator before it is too late.

  3. on 25 Apr 2007 at 3:00 pmchele

    So over the top!!!

    No one is forcing Catholic hospitals to do anything.

  4. on 25 Apr 2007 at 7:55 pmGenghis Conn

    It’s a good and fair compromise.

    Don’t believe me? You got THREE VOTES in the Senate. Three. Kissel voted for the bill. Caliguiri voted for the bill. You backed them both in 2006–these are men who are very sensitive to the issues surrounding this bill–but they still thought it was a good enough compromise to support.

    It’ll pass the House by a mile. The governor will sign it. You won’t win any court fight. This one is done.

    Also, I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but saying “pro-abortion attack on religious liberty” over and over again simply does not make it a true statement.

  5. on 26 Apr 2007 at 10:24 amChris


    Why would you take it to the courts? I thought you believed that the legislature makes the laws, not the courts. Which is it? Or do you flip-flop depending on which ruling serves your interests the best?

  6. on 26 Apr 2007 at 11:50 amPeter

    It’s interesting that you say the “real battle will be in the House” — since last week it was looking like the real battle was going to be in the Senate.

    Really, Matt? I don’t recall ever saying that. Perhaps you could show me otherwise.

    Also, I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but saying “pro-abortion attack on religious liberty” over and over again simply does not make it a true statement.

    And saying it’s not doesn’t make it false. But, Ghengis, if you’re interested in correcting falsehoods on blogs you should start with your own–particularly CGG’s front page description of Catholic hospitals “pulling out of the previously agreed compromise.” Her statement is totally and absolutely incorrect.

    Why would you take it to the courts? I thought you believed that the legislature makes the laws, not the courts.

    One difference, Chris, is that religious liberty is our first freedom, something rooted in the nation’s founding, while same-sex “marriage” is a contradiction in terms that was invented the day before yesterday.

  7. on 26 Apr 2007 at 3:22 pmChris

    So if my religious beliefs are that same-sex marriage is blessed by God, then why should you prevent me from doing that? You’re trying to infringe on my religious beliefs.

  8. on 28 Apr 2007 at 8:07 amDave

    Religious liberty as an argument for SSM is an interesting twist, but not very likely to succeed. Consider this observation of the court in Shahar v. Bowers:

    The advocates of polygamy, we assume, were no less sincere than the advocates of same-sex marriage, and they too had some religious arguments for their views. Yet, the Supreme Court repeatedly held that the Constitution provides no protection to polygamous marriages.

    And this observation of the court in Employment Division, Department of Human Resources v. Smith:

    It is a permissible reading of the [free exercise clause] … to say that if prohibiting the exercise of religion is not the object of the [law] but merely the incidental effect of a generally applicable and otherwise valid provision, the First Amendment has not been offended … To make an individual’s obligation to obey such a law contingent upon the law’s coincidence with his religious beliefs, except where the State’s interest is “compelling”-permitting him, by virtue of his beliefs, “to become a law unto himself,” contradicts both constitutional tradition and common sense.

    In other words, religious belief alone does not give you “carte blanche” to re-define the law as you see fit. To reason otherwise would be to invite pure anarchy, with any behavior being justified by someone’s assertion that their religious beliefs were contravened.

    For those curious to explore this notion further, and to better understand the legal background pertaining to “religious liberty as an argument for SSM”, take a look at the legal research article “The religious liberty argument for same-sex marriage and its effect upon legal recognition” by Jeremiah Russell of Baylor University. It provides a 37 page walk-through of relevant cases. You can find it online at

  9. on 30 Apr 2007 at 12:25 pmAnnie Banno

    Chele said, “So over the top!!! No one is forcing Catholic hospitals to do anything.”

    That would be Chele, follower of the Genghis Conn school of thought where “If I say and write it enough times it will be true regardless of the fact that it’s false.”

    Chele, please read the editor of The Manchester Journal-Inquirer who has been hitting this nail on this head for a long time: at least since March 11, 2006 (NOT 2007) when he wrote this column, “Stomping on conscience is contraceptive bill’s point” at

    Or if you like your editorials more up-to-date, here’s his latest, April 28, 2007, “Pill bill’s only purpose is to violate conscience”

    One of his major points is this: “While the contraceptive drug legislation aims to strike a malicious and political blow at the church, it is more offensive because it hits a much bigger target — individual freedom, the whole private sphere of life, the very concept of conscience.” Read why.

    Please, chele, stop doing yourself a grave disservice. Please read at least the last editorial, to understand what you and others have missed about all the aspects of this argument you and others continue to put forth even though such aspects already are well-known to have been debunked.

    Then, when you’ve all read Powell’s latest list of rebuttals to your arguments, come back and try to rebut Powell’s rebuttals, and maybe we’ll have something here.

  10. on 30 Apr 2007 at 2:01 pmAnnie Banno

    Genghis Conn, why is it that at least one editor of a state newspaper, Chris Powell of Manchester Journal-Inquirer, “gets it” that it is “those who demand ‘choice’ [who] are often the first to refuse it to others” [i.e, Catholic hospitals], yet you refuse to “get it?” You’re actually smarter, more informed, more educated and more knowledgeable about constitutional issues than Chris Powell, who is by no means a conservative editor?? Really, now.

    While I would posit that there are “pro-choice” abortion advocates and “pro-abortion” abortion advocates and there is indeed a difference, they are all still “abortion advocates.”

    And Genghis, while I’m here, how do you feel about the fact that you endorse giving women who’ve already been victimized by rape, a drug that is 10 to 30 times the dosage of the drug that, based on data that is older than 9 years old and thus hasn’t been evaluated since Plan B came out, is classified worldwide as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” [“Progestogen-only contraceptives (Vol. 72; 1999)”, ]?

    Will you be around to make amends to those women and their families 20 years from now if studies show that, like HRT, it fueled their cancers and killed them?

    How about this, a response I received from a pharmacologist:

    There won’t be any long term studies of plan B and carcinogenicity for 20 years. Took a long time for the HRT to be rejected on that basis (in the WHI study in 2002).
    If you relate Plan B to anything, it will be the Norplant, Depo Provera, and “minipill” side effects. That should be on your radar screen.

    You might want to bring up the poor efficacy of the drug, the fact that it doesn’t reduce the incidence of unwanted pregnancy or abortion.

    You might want to study the relationship of pills that don’t work, and birth defects, particularly the genital malformations.

    There’s also the connection of the progestin drugs and osteoporosis and easier transmission of STDs.

    We already quoted here, : Dec. 16, 2003 testimony by the FDA’s Charles J. Lockwood, M.D., ACRHD, on the higher rates of osteoporosis, abnormal uterine bleeding, depression and a 15 pound avg. weight gain; the JAMA-published study showing “breast cancer risk is almost tripled for women who used Depo-Provera for 2 years or more when they were younger than 25 years old,” and the Sept. 2004 newsmedia report that women ages 18- 39 lost 22 times more bone per every year they were on Depo-Provera.

    Since Norplant uses the same type of chemical as Depo-Provera and Plan B, it could easily pose a similar risk.

    Some brief further research points to more side effects of the Plan B pill(s), if used regularly: “Approximately one-third of participants discontinued the study within 6 months (mainly for bleeding problems). Menstrual complaints were reported by 70% of women. Other complaints included (in decreasing order) nausea, breast tenderness, weakness, dizziness, headache, abdominal bloating, loss of libido, depression, and vomiting. High-dose levonorgestrel pills are unsuitable for regular postcoital contraception.”

    Loss of libido or sex drive, and depression. Really good things to risk women getting, especially those who’ve been raped.

    Don’t believe that study published in Contraception Journal in 2000 by the United Nations Population Fund/World Health Organization?

    How about users of these contraceptives themselves?

    From that site:
    Microgestin “makes me tired and depressed.”

    Depo Provera: “went from 110 to 150 pounds… it also completely extinguished my sex drive.” …”i use to be a size 1 now im a size 6/7 …it made my self esteem really lower” …”I was on the dp and never had in my life did I have cramps but when I got on this shot they were a every day thing. My period got heavier and my gyn didn’t tell me all the side effects. I have gained weight fell into more depression and have hair loss now. She didn’t tell me there was a chance I could never get pregnant either after getting off of it. I have been bleeding every single day for the past 7 months and I have been off of the shot for 2 1/2 months. This shot ruined my life and I encourage everyone to not get on this birth control. And I mean everyone it might be great now but just wait!”

    There’s more, even some who loved this stuff and didn’t have many problems. But as consumers, women have to look at the bad reactions as well as the good:

    “[Depo Provera] was wonderful at first, but I gained 30 pounds in two months, I had no sex drive, I was irritable and had terrible mood swings…It was nice to go in to the doctor once every 3 months instead of taking a pill or changing a patch and not having a period was pretty nice as well. In the end, the side effects were not worth the depression and subsequent 60 pound weight gain.”

    Depo-Provera is Medroxyprogesterone acetate which is also classified as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” at the link above.

    And of course, you who support Plan B and all these contraceptive drugs can and probably should DYOR.

    Yes, you really favor helping women stay healthy, all right.

  11. on 02 May 2007 at 10:48 amAnnie Banno

    Genghis? chele? Anyone who’s commented here at this blog in favor of emergency contraception? Is there no response to this or the other combox [ ] questions? Like these in particular:

    Genghis, how do you feel about the fact that you endorse giving women who’ve already been victimized by rape, a drug that is 10 to 30 times the dosage of the drug that, based on data that is older than 9 years old and thus hasn’t been evaluated since Plan B came out, is classified worldwide as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” [”Progestogen-only contraceptives (Vol. 72; 1999)”, ]?

    Will you be around to make amends to those women and their families 20 years from now if studies show that, like HRT, it fueled their cancers and killed them?

    No thoughts on my comments in the other post about the testimony before the FDA about Emergency Contraception’s link to the rise in STDs, ectopic pregnancies and increased need for medical followup?

    No reply to the two studies in the other combox that found that this EC did in fact alter the endometrium and also suggested other mechanisms in addition to “delaying the LH surge and interfering with ovulation”? Meaning, these scientists found that the door is very much “left open” to the very ways that the Catholic Church’s research has been saying it can terminate pregnancies, all along.

  12. on 14 May 2007 at 10:20 amStephanie

    Alll law comes from the highest source, the Divine Author of creation. Reverence for life in its beginning and throughout the life cycle makes for a healthy society;history reflects this throughout the world. One (the church) cannot compromise on such a most serious issue. Our government as a republic was founded by godly men;as democracy, the majority rules .One of our early statesmen knew that this type of government would need revision in the future. (Benjamin Lloyd Harrison?). When our morals and values are corrupt we legislate poorly and in time we experience the consequences. When laws interfere with one’s religious beliefs, this is wrong. If one can’t get what you can’t have at a Catholic there are other hospitals, but I hope that first stop is to get both sides information on unplanned pregnancy. I know of plenty of regretful mothers whom had abortions. It was not an easy way out and in their later years there was inner turmoil and depression. You won’t hear this at an abortion mill, you are only a source of money to them. S.

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