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    Wednesday, March 29, 2006

    Government pushes harder and wider against Catholics


    “I see this for what it is. It is not a victims’ rights issue. It is not a victims’ services issue,” said James Papillo, a Catholic deacon. “The issue is an attack on the Catholic institutions.”

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    At the direction of the state’s archbishop, Connecticut’s four Catholic hospitals established in January 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.

    “We believe that rape victims deserve compassionate and competent medical care,” said Deirdre McQuade, director of planning and information for the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities at the U.S. Conference of Bishops. “But we disagree on what proper medical care is.”

    A growing number of states are considering laws that would require hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims, drawing criticism from supporters of the Roman Catholic Church, which likens the morning-after pill to abortion.

    “We believe that rape victims deserve compassionate and competent medical care,” said Deirdre McQuade, director of planning and information for the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities at the U.S. Conference of Bishops. “But we disagree on what proper medical care is.”

    Massachusetts, California, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, South Carolina and Washington already require hospitals to dispense it.

    Advocates say Arizona, Hawaii, Illinois, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin this year have also considered proposals that would require hospitals to dispense the morning-after pill.

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