by Steven Ertelt
March 21, 2006
Hartford, CT (LifeNews.com) — A bill in the Connecticut legislature that would have forced Catholic and other hospitals to dispense the morning after pill to rape victims failed to get approval form a legislative committee. That means the bill is likely dead for this year’s session.
Catholic groups and pro-life advocates opposed the measure because the morning after pill can sometimes cause an abortion.
There is still a chance the bill could be added on to other legislation as an amendment, but the Hartford Courant reported that’s unlikely, especially in an election year when lawmakers want to avoid some controversial issues.
Sen. Christopher Murphy, co-chairman of the public health committee, told the newspaper there is "a recognition that this is not going to get a vote."
The Courant reported that Murphy is not likely to press for the bill because he is running against pro-abortion Republican U.S. Rep. Nancy Johnson this November and is trying to get support from Catholics in the Congressional district.
The bill produced heated emotions and calls for James Papillo, the state’s victim advocate, to resign. He testified against the bill and said he wasn’t motivated by his Catholic beliefs but by the fact that in his six years on the job he’s never received a complaint from rape victims about not getting the Plan B drugs.
The measure needed a vote by 5 pm on Monday to move forward and legislators began debate just minutes beforehand and several speeches pushed the debate past the deadline.
Barry Feldman, general counsel for St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, told the newspaper that, had there been a vote, it would have been defeated. "The votes just weren’t there."
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.
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