Religious Freedom

Hartford archbishop calls for solution re emergency contraception bill

.- Catholics gathered at Connecticut’s State Capital building yesterday to demonstrate against proposed legislation that would require all hospitals, including Catholic hospitals, to offer emergency birth control.

Speaking to about 100 Catholics at a rally on the steps outside the Capitol, Archbishop Henry Mansell of Hartford said his staff is working with legislators toward a "third party" resolution on the matter, reported the Hartford Courant.

The legislature’s Human Services Committee approved the measure last week. It is now earmarked for the Senate. It is expected to be sent to the public health committee for further review before it comes up for a formal vote.

The archbishop said he would like to work toward solution “that respects the legitimate needs of the rape victim, yet allows the Catholic hospitals to operate according to a manner respectful of their religious beliefs and moral values.”

The prelate noted that Connecticut “has a strong tradition of respecting the religious beliefs of various organizations, while working closely with them in accomplishing their shared goal of helping the citizens.”

“Unfortunately, that tradition of mutual respect and religious tolerance is now being strongly challenged [with this bill]," the archbishop was quoted as saying in the Courant.

In cases of rape, which is viewed as an act of violence rather than a consensual sexual act, emergency contraception is acceptable to the Catholic Church if conception has not yet occurred, in other words, where there is no possibility of causing the death of a human life.

The archbishop said as much yesterday, "We are not opposed to emergency contraception for women who are victims of rape.  What we are opposed to is abortion."

The rally was part of Catholic Concerns Day. Church members spent part of the morning sharing their concerns about Plan B, same-sex marriage and financial support for Catholic charities.


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