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
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.
said he was willing to meet with legislators to discuss the issue, but
said the Catholic Church will not compromise on its position.
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.
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.