Hilary White


Survey Finds 45% of Catholic Hospitals in US Dispensing Abortion Drugs

Hilary White

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A study funded by the radically pro-abortion organizations, the John Merck foundation and Catholics for a Free Choice, surveyed staff at all 597 Catholic hospitals in the United States and found that only 55% of them refused to dispense the abortifacient morning after pill.

Despite the deceptive name, “emergency contraceptive” works in many cases by stopping an already formed unborn child from attaching to the uterine wall. This effect is disputed by no reputable scientists. Catholic medical ethics is clear that abortion is, in all cases, and at all stages of development, the moral equivalent to murder and can never be condoned.

There could be trouble ahead for those Catholic hospitals who still adhere to Catholic teaching moreover. Washington State, Illinois and California have laws requiring emergency rooms to provide rape victims with information about the drug.

“What Catholic hospitals do is based on religious directives,” says Sister Sharon Park, executive director of the Washington State Catholic Conference. “They follow the teachings of our religious beliefs, which are protected under the First Amendment.”

The question remains, however, if Catholic hospitals adhere to Catholic moral teaching. The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services which are supposed to be followed by Catholic hospitals in the US contain some serious ambiguities. One clause says, that a woman who has been raped “should be able to defend herself against a potential conception from the sexual assault.”

The rules say, “If, after appropriate testing, there is no evidence that conception has occurred already, she may be treated with medications that would prevent ovulation, sperm capacitation or fertilization.” The use of testing to determine pregnancy is, however, extremely unreliable before some time has elapsed in a pregnancy. The morning after pill requires that no more than 72 hours has passed to be effective. Even a blood test cannot determine pregnancy within 72 hours of conception. Sister Sharon Park said that the use of ‘emergency contraception’ could be allowed in some cases because the drug does not in every case cause an abortion.

This ambiguity is rapidly becoming par for the course in modern Catholic hospitals. The erosion of Catholic medical ethics can be seen in the widespread support among Catholic bioethicists for pre-term inducement of pregnancy with handicapped children and passive euthanasia.

Read Interim article on the prevalence of euthanasia support among Catholic bioethicists

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