Massachusetts Pro-Life Group: Catholic Hospitals Should Defy MAP Law

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 14, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Massachusetts Pro-Life Group: Catholic Hospitals Should Defy MAP Law Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 14, 2005

Boston, MA ( — A Catholic pro-life group in Massachusetts is urging Catholic hospitals in the state to resist complying with a new law that forces all medical facilities to provide the morning after pill to victims of rape who ask for it. The drug sometimes causes an abortion and Catholic hospitals are trying to figure out what to do.

The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts says the state’s Catholic hospitals should defy the law, which takes effect today.

The hospitals could consider taking the law to court, but Catholic Action League executive director C.J. Doyle tells the Associated Press compliance would violate the pro-life teachings of the church.

"The appropriate response for Catholic hospitals is noncompliance," Doyle said. "Otherwise, they would be compromising their religious integrity and Catholic identity."

A representative of Caritas Christi, a group of six Catholic hospitals that are the second largest health care provider in the state, confirmed to AP that it intends to go ahead with a new policy it announced earlier in the week.

That policy would have the hospitals first perform a pregnancy test and to only give the Plan B drugs to women who test negative for a pregnancy.

State officials would not say whether that policy would put the hospitals in an unlawful position.

Some pro-life advocates say the policy would not be effective because a positive pregnancy may not show up when the test is administered and the morning after pill could still cause an abortion.

The state health department initially ruled that Catholic and private hospitals would be able to opt out of following the new law, saying that an older law allowing them to opt out of performing abortions or giving out contraception would apply.

However, attorneys for Governor Mitt Romeny said the new law supersedes and the health department will follow that ruling.

The new law also makes Massachusetts the latest state to allow sales of the morning after pill over the counter, without a doctor’s visit. Pharmacists must enter into a collaborative agreement with a doctor and undergo some training first to be able to dispense the drugs.

The state Department of Public Health released guidelines for following the new law late yesterday, but is still working on the final draft.

Todd Andrews, a CVS spokesman, said that drug store chain will make plans for all of its pharmacists to dispense the drug by early next year.