Colorado governor Bill Owens has vetoed a bill, which would require hospitals to provide information on emergency contraception to victims of rape.
Critics, including Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput have said that House Bill 1042, which passed last November, violates the religious freedom of hospitals, particularly Catholic ones, by forcing them to offer information on abortion.
In his two-page veto letter, the governor, a Catholic, said that "This bill does not give patients all the information that they deserve, nor does it safeguard basic freedom of conscience."
Archdiocese of Denver spokesman, Sergio Gutierrez said that the Archdiocese sees this move as “a victory for religious freedom.”
"The key here”, he said, “is that the government would have required the Catholic Church to do something that for reasons of moral and ethical principles it felt it could not do."
In a February 8th column, the Archbishop said that, “HB-1042, as it currently stands, has serious flaws that should cause any thoughtful person to stop and reflect.”
He continued: “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.”
Catholic groups, who have been lobbying the governor to veto the bill, applauded what they see as the right decision.
Owens wrote in his statement that, "While this bill did offer health care professionals the right to decline to offer emergency contraception due to their religious and moral beliefs, it did not offer those same protections to health care institutions.”
"That is wrong. And it is unconstitutional."