“Some hospitals violate emergency contraception law, survey says”
Some Massachusetts facilities violate the year-old state law requiring hospitals to offer emergency contraception to rape victims by imposing “serious restrictions” on the treatment, according to a survey by NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts.
The survey, which is due to be released today, indicated that officials at 7 percent of the hospitals with emergency rooms contend the provision for emergency contraception may be left to the doctor’s discretion. Another 7 percent indicated that such provisions were contingent upon the woman undergoing a rape exam.
... All nine Catholic hospitals surveyed said they offered emergency contraception “in some capacity” to rape victims, but 56 percent had serious limitations, according to the survey. The limitations include requiring a woman to undergo a rape examination and offering the contraception only at a doctor’s discretion, Kogut said.
... In a statement, Caritas Christi Health Care , the healthcare system of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, said its six hospitals in the state abide by directives from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in administering care to sexual assault victims. They will not provide contraception to someone who is pregnant, even if the woman has been assaulted, the statement suggests.
“The guidelines affirm that a female sexual assault victim should be able to protect herself against a potential conception as a result of an assault, if after appropriate testing, there is no evidence conception has already occurred,” according to the statement.
There are in fact conditions under which it is morally licit to give such pharmaceuticals to women who have been sexually assaulted. Unfortunately, the exact conditions are being debated and while there has been some guidance from the USCCB, it’s not universally acknowledged and may contain too many loopholes to be useful. We actually had an article that dealt with this in an issue of Catholic World Report, but I can’t find the article right now. If I find it later, I’ll post a link.
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