three Catholic bishops said Wednesday they believe the Church is under
fire in the state legislature, where there have been efforts to require
Catholic hospitals to provide emergency contraception for rape victims,
reported the Associated Press.
More than 500 people attended Catholic Day at the Capitol, along with Archbishop Henry Mansell of Hartford, Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport and Bishop Michael Cote of Norwich.
In his address, Archbishop Mansell did not accuse specific legislators of being anti-Catholic but said he believes that “Catholic bashing” is on the increase and that there is an abortion-rights agenda behind the emergency contraception bill.
“We have to see the agenda beneath the agenda,” the archbishop was quoted as saying. “Many would like to see Catholic services and the Catholic Church go away.”
A bill that would have required all hospitals, including Catholic ones, to provide the morning-after pill to rape victims died in the Public Health Committee last month after the panel ran out of time to act.
But last week, a version of the legislation reappeared in the Democrats’ spending bill, which sets aside $5 million in energy assistance for hospitals that provide rape victims with emergency contraception. Archbishop Mansell said the move “could be seen by many as extortion.”
The AP reported that Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell said it is doubtful the provision will be part of the final budget, which must be negotiated between the majority Democrats in the legislature.
The archbishop said he was willing to meet with legislators to discuss the issue, but said the Catholic Church will not compromise on its position.
In January, Archbishop Mansell directed Connecticut’s four Catholic hospitals to establish a policy of not prescribing Plan B if a rape victim is ovulating or one of her eggs has been fertilized. The policy was modeled after one in Peoria, Ill.