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Catholic Leader Decries CHA Statement

March 27, 2002

Says Catholic Hospitals Need to Provide Information
About Emergency Contraception

Washington, DC—“The Catholic Health Association’s statement that it supports ‘medically appropriate, morally acceptable’ care for victims of sexual assault is a cynical statement that reflects the problem of religious control of hospitals,” said Catholics for a Free Choice President Frances Kissling.  “While the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services do allow for the use of emergency contraception for women who have been raped, CHA President Michael Place notes that it will only be administered ‘if after appropriate testing, it is considered medically appropriate.’  What Catholic health care defines as medically appropriate is for women who are not ovulating.  Obviously, if a women is not ovulating, she does not need to fear pregnancy as the result of rape and therefore would not need emergency contraception.”

“This is another example of Catholic health care directives interfering with medically appropriate care for women,” Kissling added.  “This statement is a ploy on the part of CHA to downplay the need for national legislation to require hospitals to tell women who have been raped about emergency contraception.”

Such legislation was introduced by Rep. Connie Morella in the US Congress last week.  CFFC’s research shows that 82% of Catholic hospitals say they do not provide emergency contraception to women who have been raped and only 22% of these hospitals will provide women with a useful referral for emergency contraception.  Nearly one-third of Catholic hospitals refuse to provide women with even a referral for emergency contraception.