Hartford archbishop seeks compromise on abortifacient

Hartford archbishop seeks compromise on abortifacient

If, as Catholics, we believe that committing a certain act is murder, and some agency wants us to commit that act, is it in any way moral for us to instead find someone else to do it?

The Connecticut legislature is planning a law that would require all hospitals in the state to provide so-called “emergency contraception,” which in reality acts as an abortifacient. That means Catholic hospitals too, which of course is unacceptable. Unfortunately, rather than take a stand against the murder of children, an archbishop is looking for a compromise with the state. In fact, Archbishop Henry Mansell of Hartford is considering a compromise that would allow the drug known as Plan B to be distributed in Catholic hospitals or otherwise made available through referral or another mechanism.

“We’ve been talking about possibilities that would be a solution, not a compromise,” said Mansell, who spoke with more than 250 Catholics at the annual Catholic Concerns Day at the state Capitol. It “would respect the aspirations of people who are advocating for certain help, at the same time respect our religious principals and convictions.”

If that “certain help” means certain death for the unborn, why should we respect those aspirations?

They’re not even looking for an exemption for Catholics, but are going to cooperate in some form. Not that an exemption is good: If abortion is evil, then it’s evil no matter who does it, Catholic or not.

The crux of Mansell’s allowance is that if Plan B is taken before ovulation has occurred then it doesn’t cause an abortion, thus the archdiocese’s hospitals will prescribe the drug unless “a rape victim is ovulating or an egg has been fertilized.” To what degree of certainty can you make that determination and would you be willing to bet your life on it? After all, you’re betting an unborn child’s life.

Technorati Tags: | | | | | | | | | | |

  • Many Catholic hospitals have such a protocol in place. It is considered licit if there is evidence from certain blood tests that conception has not taken place.  I’m on the road now, but I’ll try to find a copy of such a protocol and send it to you.

  • How accurate are those tests? To a certainty?

    Even so, in those cases where the hospital itself won’t dispense the drug, they’re talking about referring them to someone else or bringing someone in. That’s cooperation with evil, but washing your hands of it to maintain some kind of ritual purity.

  • Dominic and Tim:

    You seem to be referring to USCCB health care ethics directive #36:

    “Compassionate and understanding care should be given to a person who is the victim of sexual assault. Health care providers should cooperate with law enforcement officials and offer the person psychological and spiritual support as well as accurate medical information. A female who has been raped should be able to defend herself against a potential conception from the sexual assault. If, after appropriate testing, there is no evidence that conception has occurred already, she may be treated with medications that would prevent ovulation, sperm capacitation, or fertilization. It is not permissible, however, to initiate or to recommend treatments that have as their purpose or direct effect the removal, destruction or interference with the implantation of a fertilized ovum.”

    — From “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services,” June 15, 2001, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
    This is the source of much confusion. Things are settling down here in Colorado after this directive was quoted during discussion over a recent bill that was passed that required hospitals to provide information on the availability of emergency contraception. This particular Colorado bill gave an exemption for workers who didn’t want to comply for moral reasons. The Colorado bishops didn’t fight it because, with a Democrat majority in the legislature, they felt this bill didn’t have teeth. Also, if they really pushed the issue, they risked facing a much rougher, reworked bill that could have made life much tougher on the church. This bill was getting passed no matter what, so they went with the tamer version.

    Amid all of this discussion, Ethics Directive #36 reared its head and was also discussed by the Colorado bishops and the Colorado Catholic Conference. Many Catholics did not know this directive even existed.

  • “How accurate are those tests? To a certainty?”
    No medical test provides 100% certainty, nor does Catholic moral teaching require it.