by Maria Vitale Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
February 22, 2006
Hartford, CT (LifeNews.com) — Connecticut lawmakers are drafting a bill that would require all hospitals to provide the morning-after pill to rape victims. The move worries Catholic leaders, who say that, under this legislation, Catholic hospital officials would be forced to violate their religious beliefs in order to comply with the law.
Pro-life groups are also concerned because the morning after pill can sometimes cause abortions.
An action alert from the Connecticut Catholic Conference says Catholic hospitals have “provided the citizens of Connecticut with a high standard of care for decades. These institutions should not be forced to violate their religious beliefs, especially those concerning the human dignity of every person, no matter at what stage of life.”
“Nationwide efforts have been launched by pro-abortion groups to change the policies of Catholic hospitals concerning the administration of emergency contraception," the alert added. "If this policy can be legislatively altered, then the next effort will be to force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions.”
Connecticut’s four Catholic hospitals are the Hospital of Saint Raphael in New Haven, St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, St. Francis in Hartford, and St. Mary’s in Waterbury.
The Rev. John Gatzak, communications director for the Archdiocese of Hartford, told the Associated Press the archdiocese would oppose any bill requiring hospitals to administer contraceptives in cases in which an egg has already been fertilized or ovulation has started.
Gatzak told the AP that the Catholic Church “does believe and always has that human life begins at conception and that human life” at the point of conception “is entitled to all the respect that other human life is entitled to.”
Advocates of the legislation say that their main concern is helping rape victims deal with the trauma of sexual assault. However, pro-life advocates say that they fail to recognize the emotional trauma that chemical abortions can inflict on women.
Gatzak told a Connecticut television station that he understands the trauma that rape can cause. But he added that such a wrong cannot be corrected by committing another wrong—in this case, a possible chemical abortion.