George A. Sprecace M.D., J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New London, P.C.
www.asthma-drsprecace.com


Point and Counterpoint: Abortion and Alternatives - Article 35, for Sunday, May 25, 2008

Human Reproduction, Catholic Morality, and The “Plan B” Morass

The main topic of this, the 35th offering of our Point and Counterpoint series, is the action taken by the Catholic Bishops of Connecticut several months ago in response to the passage by the State of Connecticut in 2007 of a law requiring all hospitals, including the four Catholic hospitals, to offer the Plan B abortificient to their patients… and without a screening ovulation test beforehand…as required by the Peoria Protocol.  We believe that this action was taken in error and requires rescission by the Bishops. 

The Bishops issued a Statement on the subject on September 27, 2007 which states in part the following: “The Bishops and other Catholic health care leaders believe that this law is seriously flawed, but not sufficiently to bar compliance with it at the present time.  We continue to believe this law should be changed.  Nonetheless, to administer Plan B pills in Catholic hospitals to victims of rape a pregnancy test to determine that the woman has not conceived is sufficient.  An ovulation test will not be required.  The administration of Plan B pills in this instance cannot be judged to be the commission of an abortion because of such doubt about how Plan B pills and similar drugs work and because of the current impossibility of knowing from the ovulation test whether a new life is present.  To administer Plan B pills without an ovulation test is not an intrinsically evil act.  Since the teaching authority of the Church has not definitively resolved this matter and since there is serious doubt about how Plan B pills work, the Catholic Bishops of Connecticut have stated that Catholic hospitals in the State may follow protocols that do not require an ovulation test in the treatment of victims of rape.”

We, the undersigned, consider these assertions to be wrong medically, legally, and ethically.  We can quote numerous medical sources which establish that Plan B acts as an abortifacient by interfering with implantation of a then-living human embryo onto the lining of the uterus, and by failing to prevent ovulation predictably.  The Catholic Medical Association has long taken this position.  And the following is a quotation from Rosen’s Emergency Medicine, sixth edition, under the section: Pregnancy Prophylaxis: “There is a 2% to 4% risk of pregnancy from random unprotected intercourse; this figure reaches nearly 50% in women 19 to 26 years old, who are at their most fertile period, when combined with mid-cycle exposure.”  Legally, this law should be challenged in Court as unconstitutional under the safeguards of Freedom of Religion.  Ethically and morally, the status of a fertilized ovum as a complete human being deserving of all the rights accorded to all other human beings is well resolved within the teaching authority of the Catholic Church…and is the bedrock position of the Catholic Laity, the Body of the Church.  Furthermore, to open the actions of Catholic medical personnel to the prospect of participating in an abortion in up to 50% of such cases is untenable. 

Therefore, we respectfully ask the Catholic Bishops of Connecticut to rescind their action in this matter, and to pursue the approach expected of them by their flock.

Yours truly,

Peter Moore, PhD                                 George A. Sprecace, M.D., J.D.


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