Local print media are publishing several 11th hour counter-attacks by religious liberty advocates against the bill forcing Catholic hospitals to provide chemical abortions. National Catholic Bioethics Center president John Haas notes in his Sunday Courant op-ed that, yes, the issue is abortion, not contraception:

The proponents of Plan B wanted the drug administered regardless of the effects it might have. This is something the Catholic bishops could not allow. The supporters of the bill offered what was supposed to be a compromise: “Look, let a third party who is not an employee of the hospital come in and give the drug, which may cause an abortion.” The bishops of Connecticut concluded it would be wrong for a Catholic hospital to help a third party do what the Catholic hospital itself considered immoral. Is this so difficult to understand?

The issue now is whether the state will force Catholic hospitals to help third parties do what the hospitals cannot in good conscience do.

During the debate, the bishops of Connecticut were portrayed as being out of step with the rest of the church. It was maintained that the bishops of several states did not object to the law requiring the administration of the drug with no testing as to the effect it would have. That simply is not true. The bishops of every state but New York fought the sort of law that is being advanced in the Connecticut legislature [emphasis added]. New York, for some reason, was the only state where Catholic lobbyists had no objection to such a law.

The Rev. Deacon Tom Davis, an attorney with a background in bioethics, has more to say about the abortifacient possibilities of Plan B in a Catholic Transcript op-ed:

So what of the claim that Plan B does not interfere with implantation? At the hearings before the Human Services Committee, a shameless array of witnesses misrepresented the Connecticut Catholic Hospital protocol and Catholic teaching, shaded medical science and denied one of the likely chemical actions of Plan B. Witnesses asserted that Plan B is most needed when LH surge is detected because that is the time closest to ovulation. But they failed to tell the committee that once LH surge is detected, Plan B will almost certainly not inhibit ovulation and that the most likely action of Plan B at that point is the prevention of implantation – a chemical abortion in Catholic teaching.

An article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association was claimed to show that Plan B does not have an anti-implantation effect. Proponents of mandatory Plan B actually claimed that the article eliminated the reason for the Church’s objection to Plan B. Upon careful review, that balloon has crashed. The “article” was actually a “commentary,” and as the name suggests, it was an opinion piece, not a scholarly work, and it reached some unwarranted conclusions. In fact, the commentary itself actually recommends that women taking Plan B be told that it may, in fact, prevent implantation of a fertilized ovum in the womb. Shockingly, the commentary floated the “counterintuitive” notion that Plan B may actually help ensure successful implantation – the last thing rape victims want and a suggestion that no one believes.

Here are the facts: Plan B likely operates to prevent implantation, at least once LH surge is detected. That claim is not only contained in the manufacturer’s own literature, but is asserted by the Federal Drug Administration and many proabortion advocacy groups. The shocking deception perpetrated by some proponents of the mandatory Plan B is driven by ideology. In their campaign to undermine civil liberties, they pretend that the “latest” and “best” science actually demonstrates that Plan B does not have an anti-implantation effect. That claim is false and many of them know it. It is merely one more step in a long agenda aimed at the religious liberty and moral values of the Catholic Church.

And JI editor Chris Powell makes the libertarian case against the Catholic-bashers:

The bill is said to be a compromise, though it is not, insofar as the church has not consented to it. The bill would have the church hospitals contract with an intermediary to administer the drug, as if the drug still would not be provided under the roof and auspices of the church hospital by someone the hospital hired. Catholic sensibilities are not everyone’s but they can recognize pretense…

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. Churches and civic organizations in free countries long have operated hospitals, schools, and other institutions precisely because they have wanted to apply their particular sensibilities and conscience to medicine, education, and other endeavors. This has been natural diversity in action, the glorious product of liberty.

The hospital contraceptive bill would repudiate that history without achieving the slightest practical benefit to society.

For the bill’s point is not to provide any service but to force an unpopular group into something it considers repugnant.

3 Responses to “Defending Religious Liberty Against Pro-Abortion Attack”

  1. on 30 Apr 2007 at 2:34 pmAnnie Banno

    Rather than repeat my questions to Genghis Conn, et. al. here, I’ll ask them to check the combox on the earlier post on this,
    in particular on the many health risks posed to women by Plan B and its counterparts in contraception and published in respected medical journals like JAMA and Contraception and quoted in FDA testimony by Yale Med School experts (Charles Lockwood, Chair of OB-GYN at Yale).

    I forgot to quote and link to the testimony before the FDA about Emergency Contraception’s link to the rise in STDs, ectopic pregnancies and increased need for medical followup:

    “chlamydia and gonorrhea rates have risen nearly 20 percent in [the U.S.] in the last four years, concomitant to the high profile advertising of the morning after pill which, intended or not, promote the notion that taking Plan B will make up for the lack of sexual responsibility,” and

    “Both U.K. and New Zealand have warned doctors when they had a 5.9 percent rate of unintended pregnancies which were ectopic” and “The Washington State data…indicates that the pharmacist said that 85 percent of the subjects needed medical follow-up, needed medical information. Is there concern about failure to diagnose ectopic pregnancy among this population?”

    In 2002-04, UK studies in the British Medical Journal and at Nottingham University Business School showed that, after dispensing free MAPs to females from 1998 to 2002,
    1) “between 1998 and 2004 rates of diagnoses of infectious syphilis (primary and secondary) in males increased by 1520%”,
    2) syphillis in females increased from 1999 to 2000 by 36% and 31% from ’98 to ’99, and
    3) “gonorrhoea … rose by 102%, from 10,204 to 20,663, between 1995 and 2000, with the steepest increase (29%) between 1999 and 2000. The rises have been widespread and have been highest among older teenagers (16-19 years), at 178% for male[s] and 133% for female patients.” The uplift from 1998 to 1999 was 23%. Prior to 1998? 1996-98 were level at 13,000 cases and 1993-1995 remained 10,000 cases.

    These are not coincidences to UK researchers that their 4 year experiment of making MAPs easily available occurred from 1998 through 2002.

    Chlamydia can cause PID in women, and in men, epididymis. Researcher Paton, whose study is linked to above, states that it is “particularly prevalent amongst young women” and “the most likely STI both to remain undetected and to be correlated with the family planning variables.” Left untreated, these diseases prevent people from having children and can cause pneumonia in newborns.

    Syphilis increases the risk of getting HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) by 3- to 5-fold.

    Herpes can’t be cured, and you can infect any partner you ever have even if you’re not having an outbreak.

    As of March 2004, drug-resistant [i.e., easily fatal] gonorrhea had broken out in Boston worse than it did the four prior years in Seattle, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia and Las Vegas.

    Two weeks ago, the papers reported the CDC now saying that gonorrhea is a drug-resistant “Superbug”:

    “Gonorrhea, which is believed to infect more than 700,000 people in the United States each year, can leave both men and women infertile and puts people at higher risk of getting the AIDS virus….Gonorrhea, spread through sexual contact, is the second most commonly reported infectious disease in the United States, trailing only chlamydia, which the CDC says affects more than 2.1 million people yearly in the U.S. The highest rates of infection are among sexually active teens, young adults and African-Americans. Because many people don’t have obvious symptoms, they can unknowingly spread it to others.”

    And it was discussed in the FDA transcripts link above how some side effects of MAPs–unlisted on the box–are amazingly similar to the symptoms of ectopic pregnancies, which if undiagnosed, can kill the woman.

    Yeah, our legislators really do care about women’s health and well-being, all right.

  2. on 30 Apr 2007 at 2:54 pmAnnie Banno

    While there are studies that found no interference on implantation and suggest that Plan B only affects ovulation, there are others, as cited in this post. Here are at least two:

    1. Durand M, Sépala M, del Carmen Cravioto M, et al.. Late follicular phase administration of levonorgestrel as an emergency contraceptive changes the secretory pattern of glycodelin in serum and endometrium during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Contraception. 2005;71:451-457.

    They found that “Levonorgestrel [LNG] taken for emergency contraception (EC) prior to the LH surge alters the luteal phase secretory pattern of glycodelin in serum and endometrium. Based on the potent gamete adhesion inhibitory activity of glycodelin-A, the results may account for the action of LNG in EC in those women who take LNG before the LH surge.”

    2. Hapangama D, Glasier AF, Baird DT. The effects of peri-ovulatory administration of levonorgestrel on the menstrual cycle. Contraception. 2001;63:123-129: “In the remaining eight women [out of 12 women studied], LNG did not affect ovulation or the cycle length, but the length of the luteal phase and the total luteal phase LH concentrations were significantly reduced. We suggest that LNG acts as an emergency contraceptive by other mechanisms as well as delaying the LH surge and interfering with ovulation.
    (Emphases are all mine)

    “Treatment with ECPs containing only levonorgestrel during the periovulatory phase may fail to inhibit ovulation but, nevertheless, reduce the length of the luteal phase and total luteal phase LH concentrations; this observation suggests a postfertilization contraceptive effect.” (from )

    A “postfertilization contraceptive effect,” to Catholics, is an abortion. It also used to be this for all medical doctors, from their medschool textbooks on up, before they rewrote the Hippocratic Oath to be “politically-correct” and allow the redefinition of when pregnancy and human life occurs (they now say pregnancy occurs at implantation only, and human life only when you’re 100% born and wanted).

  3. on 02 May 2007 at 10:42 amAnnie Banno

    Genghis? chele? Anyone who’s commented here 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?

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