Abortion supporters, foes, criticize Catholic bishops' decision

October 2, 2007

Emergency contraception policy sparks debate.

Last week's decision by Connecticut's Roman Catholic bishops to administer emergency contraception (EC) to all rape victims at Catholic hospitals is reigniting the 34-year-old debate over abortion. The bishops announced their decision just four days before a new state law requiring them to do so took effect. In announcing the decision, the Catholic Bishops of Connecticut released a statement that read, "the teaching authority of the church has not definitively resolved this matter and since there is serious doubt about how Plan B pills work," the hospitals will be allowed to provide Plan B to rape victims without first requiring ovulation tests. "To administer Plan B without an ovulation test is not an intrinsically evil act." Women administered Plan B are given a high dose of a drug found in most common birth control pills. The drug works by stopping ovulation and can lower the risk of pregnancy by up to 89% if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. Pro-life advocates called the bishops' decision an outrage and a crime, and urged them to reconsider. "The Connecticut Catholic Conference is acting recklessly by allowing the use of this abortifacient," said Judie Brown, president of American Life League. Pro-choice activists, on the other hand, said they were disappointed that the bishops had to be forced into providing basic health care. "It's doubly disappointing that women in Connecticut have had to wait for so long for this concession as the bishops' own directives clearly allow the provision of EC after a sexual assault," said Jon O'Brien, president of Catholics for a Free Choice.

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