Montgomery, Ala., Jun 7, 2019 / 18:00 pm
A Catholic ethicist raised concerns over a bill that would mandate "chemical castration" as a condition of parole for incarcerated pedophiles. The issue is at the crux of an Alabama bill that has passed the state's legislature and now is awaiting the governor's signature.
The bill, HB379, would mandate so-called "chemical castration" as a condition for granting parole to convicted sex offenders who offended against children 13 years of age or younger. The treatment would be provided and supervised by the Department of Public Health, and would be paid for by the parolees, unless they could demonstrate the inability to pay, the bill states.
The bill defines the chemical castration treatment as: "The receiving of medication, including, but not limited to, medroxyprogesterone acetate treatment or its chemical equivalent, that, among other things, reduces, inhibits, or blocks the production of testosterone, hormones, or other chemicals in a person's body." Medical experts have raised multiple concerns about the bill including the fact that a judge, rather than a doctor, would inform parolees about the possible and serious side-effects of the treatment, according to the Washington Post.
In comments to CNA, Fr. Tad Pacholczyk, an ethicist with The National Catholic Bioethics Center, said that blanket mandates of medical interventions "can raise more problems" than they solve."
Pacholczyk said a case-by-case approach would be more appropriate.