by Steven Ertelt
March 9, 2006
Hartford, CT (LifeNews.com) — Connecticut Lt. Gov. Kevin Sullivan has called for the resignation of James Papillo, the state victims’ advocate, after Papillo said he was opposed to a bill in the state legislature that would force Catholic hospitals to provide the morning-after pill to rape victims.
Papillo, who is Catholic, said the measure, which requires all hospitals to make the drugs available, would require the four Catholic medical centers in the state to violate their religious beliefs.
On Monday, he told the Public Health Committee that the bill is "a solution in search of a problem," saying rape victims "are not being denied services."
"He can have all the strong opinions that he wants personally and privately, but he has an obligation to leave them outside the door of his office and to leave them outside of his job," Sullivan responded, according to a Newsday report.
Papillo has said he will not resign.
Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell, who supports legal abortion, says she favors the current law, which permits hospitals not to dispense the morning-after pill for religious reasons but requires that they refer women who seek it to other hospitals.
However, her spokesperson said Rell, a Republican, would be willing to consider the new legislation if it passes.
Meanwhile, state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) on Monday said that Catholic hospitals could be required to provide the drugs, which can sometimes cause an abortion.
That’s why the Catholic hospitals and pro-life groups oppose distributing it.
The communications director for the archdiocese of Hartford, the Rev. John Gatzak, told the Yale Daily News, “The fundamental reason why the church does not dispense Plan B (the morning-after pill) is that it is an abortifacient and to do so would be immoral, according to the religious understanding of the Catholic Church.”
The four Catholic hospitals in Connecticut oppose the bill.
In order to win passage, the bill would have to be voted out of the Public Health Committee by March 20 and enacted by both houses of the legislature by May 3, the end of the current legislative session.
Connecticut Right to Life also opposes the bill and members rallied in Waterbury outside Saint Mary’s Hospital recently to oppose the legislation.
Connecticut Right to Life President Bill O’Brien told a television station, “These people that are putting this kind of legislation forward, they are spitting on the graves of the people that died and gave their lives for freedom of religion in this country…They are just trying to change this country into something that I don’t recognize at all.”
Related web sites:
Connecticut Right to Life – https://www.ctrtl.com