Uncle Diogenes raises a good point today.
The state of Connecticut has been considering Bill 1343 requiring all its hospitals, Catholic ones included, to administer the "Plan B" "emergency contraception" for victims of rape and for women who have had "unprotected" sex. Pardon the overabundant quotation marks; I just can't bring myself to justify the existence of these concepts by showing them the level of respect I have for real words.
The Catholic Bishops of Connecticut, during the planning & review stages of this law, urged the state's governor, M. Jodi Rell, to either veto the legislation or add a clause requiring an ovulation test before administering the drug. Not to do so, they claimed, would be in "direct opposition to our religious belief that life begins at the moment of conception and as such is a serious violation of a basic tenet of the Catholic Faith."
Such a test, easily administered in the ER, would determine if the woman was in the ovulation phase of her monthly cycle, as pregnancy is only possible in the 5-6 day window around the release of the ovum. The bishops had previously urged the lawmakers in that state to take this into consideration, as they saw a distinction between using contraception to prevent ovulation and using it to prevent the implantation of the fertilized ovum (AKA a tiny human).
The Most Reverend Bishops who authored (or at least signed) this letter are Henry J. Mansell of Hartford, William E. Lori of Bridgeport, and Michael R. Cote of Norwich. They cite certain moral ambiguities around the issue of when it is ethically allowable to use the "Plan B" contraceptive.
Maybe I missed the memo, but the last time I checked, there was no ambiguity around the morality of contraception: "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil."
And don't throw the "What about rape?" question at me; the whole justification for the "Plan B" pill is based on the fact that there are 37 million "contraceptive accidents" in the US each year, and at $27 a pop, that's a quick profit for the drug companies. Rape, by contrast - while harder to track due to underreporting, is well below the 1 million mark annually; horrific to be sure, but it's disingenuous of the pushers of this pill to claim that rape victims are their chief concern. I'm no venture capitalist, but I know which demographic I'd target were I selling something. There's a clear distinction between people who live irresponsibly and have the disposable income to cover their tracks, and people who are legitimate victims of assault. If the drug companies were really that concerned about the welfare of humanity in general, they'd handle the AIDS epidemic in Africa a little differently.
What makes this even more absurd is that the bishops were saying they would only allow Catholic hospitals to administer the drug to women who were not fertile at the time of intercourse. Think about that. They would only provide "emergency contraception" to women who don't need it. That's like saying they'd only throw you a life preserver if you're on land.
The Connecticut bishops also urged the government to allow them to outsource the administration of the drug in the cases which caused them the most moral concern. So they're saying that while the behaviour is morally reprehensible, it's OK by them if somebody else does it. Far be it from them to take an actual stand and state that "Plan B" is an unacceptable concept, as it violates the sanctity of the marriage act by nullifying its effects, endangers and often takes the life of single-celled humans by preventing their implantation, and encourages irresponsible behaviour by supplying an easy consequence-eraser.
No, that would be an offensive, intolerant message, and our bishops are much too caught up in the politics of their offices. Heaven forbid they get removed from the Christmas card lists of the prominent liberals who are unwittingly (one hopes) engineering the fall of Western civilization.
Heaven forbid that our bishops are numbered among that same group.
Please heaven, return to our bishops their spines, that they may stand up tall against the offenses in which this mad world revels.
Oh, in closing, I should mention that the bill was passed with no changes, and the bishops did not get what they wanted. So they decided instead to want no changes and are now acquiescing to the government. Wouldn't want to end up in jail, after all.