Connecticut’s Roman Catholic bishops consider a recent bill, which requires all Connecticut hospitals to offer emergency contraception to rape victims, as part of a national assault against religious freedom.
An attorney for Catholic hospitals in the state said the bishops are considering legal action, claiming that the new law, which takes effect Oct. 1, infringes on their constitutional rights, reported The Associated Press.
Similar bills have already passed in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Minnesota.
"If the religious liberty of a Catholic hospital can be violated on this issue, what's next?" asked Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport. "Will the law insist that Catholic hospitals further violate their ethical standards by performing abortions on demand? Or will the law someday force Catholic hospitals to euthanize those deemed not fit to live?"
Advocates for rape victims began pushing for the bill in Connecticut last year after learning that Archbishop Henry Mansell of Hartford had directed Connecticut's Catholic hospitals not to prescribe emergency contraception, known as Plan B, if a rape victim was ovulating or her egg had been fertilized. Taking Plan B in this case would result in a chemical abortion.
The archbishop based his directives on the Peoria Protocol, first developed at Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Ill., which functions with the premise that if a woman is ovulating, conception may have taken place.
While Connecticut’s new law allows a hospital to conduct a pregnancy test before prescribing Plan B and to have a third party administer the drug, it prevents a hospital from conducting an ovulation test.