October 19, 2011 ( – A large Catholic hospital network in Texas is prescribing the abortifacient “morning-after pill.” Seton Catholic hospitals decided to provide the abortifacient Plan B emergency contraception to sexual assault victims after lobbying by NARAL Pro-Choice Texas.

The Plan B morning-after pill has been referred to as “contraception,” even though it may also act after fertilization to cause the death of a human embryo.

Seton “has now implemented a policy to ensure that sexual assault survivors will be offered emergency contraception as a standard course of treatment—regardless of whether they choose to undergo an exam or file a police report,” said NARAL Pro-Choice Texas director Sara Cleveland in an email to supporters.

“(I am) happy to announce that there is now a stronger process in place to help protect sexual assault survivors in Central Texas from unintended pregnancy,” said Cleveland.

Cleveland, who credited the change to a “vice-presidential level contact at Seton,” said that someone from Seton called her September 9 to confirm the policy change.

Seton spokeswoman Adrienne Lallo has said that Seton, which is part of the Ascension Health network, the largest non-profit healthcare system in the United States, offers the abortifacient drug Levonorgestrel, known as Plan B, as an emergency contraceptive. Lallo did not name NARAL’s Seton contact, but did say that Seton, which has 50 hospitals and clinics, no longer employs the individual.

Lallo said that Seton is in compliance with Directive 36 of the US Conference of Catholics Bishops 2009 directives for Catholic hospitals. Directive 36 says that women who are victims of sexual assault may use methods to prevent the fertilization of an ovum following rape.

“Emergency contraception can be administered to female patients who have been sexually assaulted, refused transfer for a (forensic exam) at a neighboring hospital, requested emergency contraception within 72 hours of the assault and are not pregnant, as confirmed by a pregnancy test,” Lallo said. 

In the year 2000, a Vatican document dealt with the “morning-after pill.”

“It is clear, therefore, that the proven ‘anti-implantation’ action of the morning-after pill is really nothing other than a chemically induced abortion. It is neither intellectually consistent nor scientifically justifiable to say that we are not dealing with the same thing.”

In 2001, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger censured a prominent Spanish theologian, Father Marciano Vidal, C.Ss.R., for claiming falsely that the “morning-after pill” and other such methods that intervene after fertilization and before implantation are not abortifacient.