Skip to comments.Romney Changes Hospital Contraception Rules (Removes religious exemption)
Posted on 12/09/2005 11:07:13 AM PST by NYer
Gov. Mitt Romney abandoned plans Thursday to exempt Roman Catholic and other private hospitals from a new law requiring them to dispense emergency contraception to rape victims.
Romney had initially backed regulations proposed earlier this week by his public health commissioner, Paul Cote Jr., who said the new law conflicted with an older law barring the state from forcing private hospitals to dispense contraceptive devices or information.
The Republican governor, who is considering a run for president in 2008, said he asked his legal advisers to review the matter after members of both parties criticized the regulations. He said the lawyers determined that the new law superseded the old law and that all hospitals should be required to offer the so-called "morning-after pill."
"On that basis I have instructed the Department of Public Health to follow the conclusion of my own legal counsel and to adopt that sounder view," Romney said.
"In my personal view, it's the right thing for hospitals to provide information and access to emergency contraception to anyone who is a victim of rape," he added.
The new law takes effect Dec. 14. Passed this summer by the Legislature, which then overrode Romney's veto, it states that the pill must be available to "each female rape victim."
Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, the likely GOP nominee for governor next year if Romney decides not to seek re-election, had broken ranks with the governor on the issue, saying Wednesday that all hospitals should be required to distribute the pill.
Attorney General Tom Reilly, a Democrat planning to run for governor next year, said Romney's initial legal interpretation was "a backdoor regulation" and would not have survived court challenge. He also highlighted the focus of the law: victims of rape.
"It's a horrible thing to happen to anybody," Reilly said. "You don't want to make it any worse, and this administration was on a road that would have made it worse for women in that position."
The emergency contraception pill is a high dose of hormones that women can take up to five days after sex to prevent pregnancy. Opponents who believe life begins at conception contend the pill is little different from an abortion because it blocks the fertilized egg from being implanted on the uterine wall.
Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom had said the governor supported allowing hospitals to opt out on religious or moral grounds because an exemption "respects the views of health care facilities that are guided by moral principles on this issue."
Caritas Christi Health Care, which is owned by the Catholic Church and is the second-largest health care system in New England, said in a statement it provides emergency contraception to female patients, but only those who are not already pregnant.
Critics said the proposed regulations were an attempt by the Romney administration to cater to conservative primary voters.
"I think this has more to do with political ambitions," said state Sen. Susan Fargo, a Democrat who supports the bill. "Unfortunately you can't decide where you are going to be raped so you can be near the best hospital for that."
Seven other states require hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims, and none include exemptions for religious and moral reasons. Three Illinois pharmacists filed a complaint with regulators in that state this week alleging they were dismissed from their jobs after refusing to fill prescriptions for the pill.
So long Mitt, not that I would have considered voting for you anyway.
Now how the heck is a hospital going to know who is a rape victim unless they are bruised and battered? This is ridiculous. They can get their abortion pills elsewhere. Forcing a private hospital to provide this service is such government intrusion.
At least we won't have to worry about Romney getting any traction during the primaries.
Close the hospitals. It's the only option.
VATICAN, November 21, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI addressed participants in a Health Care conference at the Vatican Saturday, on the topic of the human genome. An analysis of scientific data, he said, reveals the dignity of human life "from the first moment of fecundation."
The statement is significant since it answers, for Catholics, questions surrounding the beginning of a right to life. Many, some Catholics included, have wondered about the stage at which the embryo deserves protection. Some have proposed that the morning after pill would avert abortion since it acts prior a modern definition of 'conception' which entails implantation of the embryo into the mother's womb.
The statement that human beings have human dignity from "fecundation" - defined as the moment the sperm and egg unite - is thus significant to pro-lifers.
In his talk, the Pope highlighted the fact that people of our time "are capable of understanding that the dignity of man is not identified with the genes of his DNA, and does not diminish in the presence of any physical diversity or genetic defects. The principle of 'non discrimination' on the basis of physical or genetic factors has entered profoundly into people's consciences and is formally expressed in the Charter of Human Rights. This principle has its most authentic roots in the dignity intrinsic to each human being by the fact of having been created in the image and likeness of God."
After pointing out how the Church "announces and presents this truth, not only with the authority of the Gospel but also with the strength deriving from reason," the Holy Father affirmed: "It is necessary to guard against the risks of a science and technology that seek complete autonomy from the moral norms written into human nature."
Romney - the Republican Kerry. First he was for it before he was against it.
My brother's hospital closed down it's OB/GYN department - they no longer provide services of any kind related to that, and instead refer patients to other hospitals. The reasoning is that they didn't want to be forced to provide abortions and/or contraceptives, as the state was getting ready to make them do.
I hope he has also abandoned any plan of running for president, because he's not got a chance with Republicans after this.
the Catholic Hospitals should close their ER doors
Romney has been a pro-abortion liberal for over 40 years. Aside from whatever pandering he is up to at the moment, this is exactly what I would expect from him.
According to the libs, only those who agree to participate in abortions are qualified to practice medicine.
Hippocrates thought otherwise.
Shame on him for backing down. Just because the Catholic Church is unpopular right now does not mean that First Amendment protections of freedom of religion have disappeared for Catholics! Now we'll have to rely on our wonderful court system to protect us, just like they've protected marriage...
"Romney has been a pro-abortion liberal for over 40 years."
Yup. A lot of my conservative friends here in MA (mostly "transplants") and elsewhere *adore* Mitt Romney because he occasionally panders to conservatives with things like his support of faith-based initiatives, and because he is a Republican that managed to break through the sea of MA Democrats. That people buy into his rhetoric drives me batty. We need to spread the Romney-is-a-Leftie information as widely as possible.
Talk about an infringement of religious freedom.
He was responding to an earlier statement. I think he just meant not all rapes result in visible injury. For example, if someone forces a woman to have sex at gunpoint, he may not physically injure her at all, but obviously it is still rape.
Not entirely correct. In the case of rape, Catholic teaching allows for administering genuine emergency contraceptives that will prevent ovulation. Catholic teaching does not allow the administering of a contraceptive that is an abortifacient and labeled as an "emergency contraceptive." People frequently paint with too broad a brush, just as they do with the Church's teaching on abortion, on this topic.
2 March 2005
Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput
The following column appeared in The Denver Post on Feb. 8.
Representative Fran Coleman recently criticized the Catholic Church for preaching to her because, although she is Catholic, she represents people of all faiths. She took issue with Catholic resistance to portions of HB 05-1042, which would require hospitals in the state to provide emergency contraception for women who are raped.
Rape is a brutal, ugly and inexcusable form of violence. Rep. Colemans feelings are understandable. She is a legislator of proven service and character. She is right in seeking immediate medical intervention for women who suffer rape. While conception from rape is rare, it does happen, and Catholic teaching supports the right of rape victims to defend themselves against potential conception.
Genuine emergency contraception i.e., steps to prevent ovulation following a rape poses no problem for Catholics. The Church and her health-care institutions already allow for this as an act of defense against violent sexual assault.
But HB 05-1042, as it currently stands, has serious flaws that should cause any thoughtful person to stop and reflect.
Emergency contraception is one of those expressions that sounds compelling but easily gets twisted. HB 05-1042 does a bad job of defining it. Medical science traditionally saw fertilization of a womans egg not implantation in the uterine wall as the beginning of pregnancy and life itself. The abortion lobby, of course, worked hard to change that.
If the hormonal agents used in emergency contraception are intended to suppress ovulation, and if theyre applied at a point in a victims cycle where they truly can prevent ovulation, Catholics can support their use.
But many backers of emergency contraception intend much more than simply blocking conception. They define it to include methods that are abortifacient in other words, that kill the fertilized egg after pregnancy has begun by preventing it from implanting in the uterine wall.
For Catholics and Catholic hospitals, this creates a grave moral problem. The size of an unborn human life doesnt matter; the scientific fact that a human life has begun, does. Once conception occurs, two sets of rights must be protected: the woman unjustly violated, and the innocent life who results. To the degree that supporters of emergency contraception obscure this fact, as many often do, they act dishonestly.
HB 05-1042 describes emergency contraception as any drug approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration that prevents pregnancy after sexual intercourse, including but not limited to contraceptive pills. But the bill should also state that, for purposes of informed consent, the health-care facility must inform the patient of what the drug is, and what it does.
A victim of sexual assault surely has the right to know what is being administered to her and what its potential effects are. She should not be victimized again by health-care professionals who withhold informed consent from her because she hasnt been told about the actual effects of the chemicals introduced into her body.
Another concern is this: If the victim has recently been sexually intimate with her husband roughly within the previous four days she could have her husbands and her own newly conceived child making its way to the womb and inadvertently prevent it from implanting. If so, there would now be, in a sense, multiple victims: the woman suffering from the original assault, a mother and father deprived of their child, and the newly conceived child whose life is ended.
Catholic hospitals want to offer sexual assault victims the facts needed for full informed consent. We believe its sometimes necessary to perform medical tests to determine the right course of action to conform to sound medical judgment. We dont want to refer out for procedures we consider immoral, and HB 05-1042 would require that in an unprecedented way.
At a minimum, Catholic hospitals which provide their services based on moral and religious convictions about the dignity of the human person should not be obligated to perform or refer for procedures which violate Catholic teaching. This doesnt involve preaching to anybody. It involves fidelity to principle and conscience the same principles and conscience that animate Catholic service to the poor.
Coloradans owe rape victims our compassion and immediate support. In providing that support, methods matter. A good end, no matter how urgent, cannot justify bad means. The responsibility of adult citizens is to think carefully about complicated issues and choose the right course. HB 05-1042 is a well-intentioned piece of legislation. What it needs now is the clarity of deeper moral and scientific reflection, and room for people and institutions to remain true to their consciences in responding.
How does this square with this? The CMA is the most qualified Association to advise on medical matters and is totally faithful to the Magisterium.
Catholic Medical Association
Bishop Vasa, Oregon, Episcopal Advisor
The GENERAL ASSEMBLY
CATHOLIC MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
72nd Annual Meeting & National Conference
October 17, 2003
Is there any prescription that could predictably prevent ovulation from occuring at a particular time? I've never heard of one.
Apparently, you feel the need to minimize the extreme violence of RAPE. This is one crime that kills it victims, without them dying. Do you truly believe that being RAPED while unconcious, has a less violent effect upon a person/victim's psyche?
I'll remember this when he runs for president.
>>>>Is there any prescription that could predictably prevent ovulation from occuring at a particular time? I've never heard of one.<<<<
I suppose this is in relation to the post from the Catholic Medical Association I posted above. I am not a physician but I think COD is one. Perhaps she can shed some light. I would think the CMA, which has a broad base of support in terms of the types of physicians represented, would not have adopted this resolution if they thought there was merit to these drugs. The resolution as much as states that there is no medical certainty that the compounds do NOT act as abortifacients or have a clear cut effect in preventing ovulation alone.
I have the utmost concern and horror for the woman involved in a situation of rape. Still, the CMA is making a strong stand as regards this statement. They also were of high profile in the Schiavo (Schindler) case. This is not as clear cut as I thought and it was brought to light by Dom Bettinelli.
The Catholic Church should take this to Court.
Sorry, I am not a physician, just a RN. FWIW, here are my thoughts.
The morning after pill is basically a double dose of birth control pills. It is not the abortion drug, RU486, which is given after implantation. Morning after pills must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex in order to be effective. Any fertilized egg which has implanted will not be aborted. The pill does not have that capability. The pills work like birth control pills which inhibit ovulation and/or make the lining of the uterus chemically inhospitable for a fertilized egg to implant. It is possible the egg may implant anyway. There are no guarantees. Sperm can remain active for days.
From a medical perspective, while a fertilized egg is human life it is not a pregnancy. Pregnancy begins at implantation. It's a hard sell to call the pills abortifacent from a medical standpoint. Those few days in between are a gray area. Fertilized eggs fail to implant at high rates. I don't know of any easy way to test for ovulation or the presence of a fertilized egg in the ER. The pills are given to prevent pregnancy.
The debate is more of a religious or moral nature. It is immoral to interrupt the life process and under what circumstances? Accurate definition of terms is important in order to be taken seriously. As medical science becomes more sophisticated it is a (pre)cradle to grave dilemma. Any hospital of a religious affiliation has the right to operate under its belief system.
Thanks for the additional information. It would seem, from both your posts, that there is not in fact any medical way to guarantee that ovulation has not occurred or will not occur around the time of a rape (or any sexual intercourse, for that matter).
To my way of thinking, the best alternative for a hospital that wishes to remain true to it's Catholic values while facing this kind of dilemma is to not offer OB/GYN services in the first place.
First of all, it's a financial liability. I bet you would find that the states that require so-called "emergency contraceptives" are also those that are most generous with malpractice awards.
Second, I have to question what Catholic mission is being achieved by having an OB/GYN section in the first place? In truth, I'm wondering if there is a Catholic mission to be found in having hospitals in the U.S. at all circa 2005, but I find this to be particularly true with the OB/GYN field. If it's a charity issue to make sure that poor women can get necessary care, you can pay another organization to provide only those services you're willing to subsidize. You don't have to be a service provider to see that services are provided.
At a certain point, it really is time to 'shake the dust from your sandals'.
That's an interesting point. If Catholic hospitals (and medical practices in general) were offering Ob/Gyn services in a manner consistent with Catholic doctrine, that would be a real difference from other health care providers, and worth the Church's effort, in my opinion. However, I don't think that's the case, generally.
Correct me if I'm reading you incorrectly.
Not all rapes produce obvious bruises or other signs of battery.
Rape is a violent act, even without bruises or physical scars.
"Any private hospital, Catholic or otherwise, that has religious or moral objections should close their OB/GYN clinics, and maybe even their ER doors. But if this happens on a large enough scale, I can see a scenario where the state government tries to take over those hospitals "for the public good."
Both ER's and OB/GYN sections are often money-losers. If the states want to take over those functions "for the public good", I suspect that more than a few hospitals will be more than happy to hand them over.
In my personal view, I think the western Catholic church should be getting out of the hospital business, at least in the U.S. As compared to other countries, we are not "medically underserved". The reason why Catholic hospitals were created in the first place was to serve poor immigrant Catholics who had no other place to turn. That problem has largely been eliminated if for no other reason than American Catholics are by and large more affluent than they were 100 years ago. As I pointed out in a previous post, you don't have to be the one who actually provides a service to ensure that the service is provided.
There is risk in any strategy a Catholic organization takes to stay true to the faith, and expropriation is one of them. I don't think expropriation is a particularly high-risk in this instance.
Mrs. Tax, this is a pretty good summary of what the CMA believes to be the "Catholic Medical" position in light of the Magisterial teachings of the Church. That is, you are correct: there IS no guarantee.
Deb, "ONLY an RN" is way too humble! God bless all RN's! I understand that we are only about 130,000 short in the US and are importing them from all over the world? I know many RN's and believe they are all a gift from God! My niece is one and she went into Geriatrics. Bless you!
I will not even mention the situation with pharmacists! I know many good, Catholic pharmacists who work in chain stores. They must compromise their conscience constantly in order to hold a job.
I remember vividly a story told by Fr. John Corapi who gave a Retreat somewhere in Florida. After the Retreat, a husband and wife couple, who owned a pharmacy, decided to refuse to fill all prescriptions for birth control pills and to rid their stores of all condoms and such. They almost went out of business until the local Baptist Minister noticed their plight and mentioned it in his Sunday service. In time, the word spread and the couple ended up serving only a Pro Life clientele and had four pharmacies!
In my area, a group of women is trying to get a Pro Life OB/GYN practice to come into the area that only uses NFP and practices the Creighton methods. These folks are as rare as hen's teeth. So far, no luck.
>>>There is risk in any strategy a Catholic organization takes to stay true to the faith, and expropriation is one of them. I don't think expropriation is a particularly high-risk in this instance.<<<
Witness Catholic universities, for example, which is now almost a total oxymoron. With the exception of colleges like Franciscan University in Steubenville, Christendom, and a group of smaller schools (listed on the Catholic.net website run the the LC), authentic Catholic colleges are non-existent. Just ask the Theology faculty to produce their Mandata and see what happens.
From my understanding, his hospital doesn't even offer delivery services due to state regulations.
There would be more doctors with authentically Catholic Ob/Gyn practices if there were more Catholics with authentically Catholic marriages. At least my current Ob., Dr. Something-Polish, hasn't nagged me to have my tubes tied after the delivery!
In the hospitals I've been in, the maternity areas have been expanding. I know my insurance company is paying out a substantial amount to *somebody*! And there's quite a bit of elective gynecological surgery covered by insurance, as well as the booming infertility industry. Lots of money out there for hospitals.
Certainly one can see how Emergency would be a loss-leader, though. However, if the government takes over emergency services, you don't want to have any emergencies!
As to Romney, no babykillers get nominated by the GOP. He is no better than his late "brainwashed" father.
It would also be useful if whoever serves as Prophet of the Mormon Church slap Romney theologically up side of the head for sullying the deservedly fine reputation 0f his co-religionists.
Mormon hospitals do not have to serve coffee, booze or tobacco or kill kids. Catholic hospitals do not have to, cannot and may not kill kids. This is not nuclear physics.
Does your post mean that you believe that CATHOLIC hospitals can be FORCED (by "law," no less) to participate in the murder of the innocent unborn to make state representative whazzername "feel" good? First Amendment Freedom to Worship anyone??????
Abortion is a violent act too, drastically so, and has even more permanent effects on the unborn.
You should get VIP service, Mrs. Tax! Something like the old special suites (Clubs) with "tableau riche" that were available only to certain exclusive flyers at airports!
LOL! There was a Catholic hospital in Oklahoma City that would deliver #6-and-higher babies for free, but I only had 4 when we moved to Tulsa.
Let's take it to court, Mrs. Tax. I'll represent you. Der Prinze will be the Outside Guard.
PS What are you doing on this board in the middle of a Saturday afternoon only two weeks before Christmas? I figured you'd would be trying to self-clone yourself.
I should add, I had #3 and 4 at Norman Regional, a palatial establishment, conveniently located, but I would have gone to wherever it was for a free delivery of #6 :-).
We are finished shopping, I have about 80% of the Christmas cards done, and my parents left yesterday. I'd be taking my nap now, but Bill got in a fight with Pat and woke James up. I suppose I should go do laundry or something ...
So long RINO boy.