Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Conscience, Catholic hospitals, and contraception

Apparently, lawmakers in Connecticut are putting together a bill "that would require all Connecticut hospitals, including the four Roman Catholic hospitals in the state, to provide emergency contraception to rape victims."  The news story, and the proposal's supporters who are quoted, speak simply of "contraception," while those speaking for the Catholic hospitals speak in terms of early abortifacients:

The Rev. John Gatzak, director of communications for the Archdiocese of Hartford, said the archdiocese would oppose any legislation requiring hospitals to administer contraceptives in cases where an egg already has been fertilized or ovulation has begun.

The Catholic Church "does believe and always has that human life begins at conception and that human life" at the point of conception "is entitled to all the respect that other human life is entitled to," Gatzak said.

I assume that the First Amendment would not require an exemption from Connecticut's "emergency contraception" mandate (though, perhaps, state law would).  Is there any compromise possible?  Or, is the Catholic Church simply going to have to give up on running full-service hospitals?  And, if the Church were to do this, would that be good for civil society and for the poor? 


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