Reluctant Compliance

Since when are Catholic Bishops working in the ER?

To the great dismay of Catholic bishops, Connecticut’s lawmakers have mandated that all of the state’s hospital emergency rooms, including Catholic-run hospitals, must make emergency contraception for pregnancy prevention available to every rape victim who comes through their doors.

The Connecticut Catholic bishops are not happy. They have agreed, according to the current issue of the National Catholic Register, to “reluctant compliance.”

Which basically means that they’ll actually require hospital staff to abide by the law and provide medical care. Shocking.

Interestingly, though, they’re fudging their position on emergency contraception in order to save face and pretend that the decision fits into their anti-contraception stance:

Despite their past claims that EC is immoral, evil, and all of the denunciations they like to hurl at things female (birth control, sterilization, in vitro fertilization, abortion), and despite a Vatican declaration that EC, whether interfering with implantation or fertilization, “is really nothing other than a chemically induced abortion,” they’re singing a different tune.

Their new position holds that since you can’t know when EC is interfering with implantation, and since that’s probably not often the case, and since we’re not talking about a high number of women who get pregnant from rape (several thousand women in the U.S., who cares?), then dispensing EC without the ovulation test is not “intrinsically evil.”

“In permitting Catholic hospitals to comply with this law, neither our teaching nor our principles have changed,” lied Bridgeport, CT Bishop William Lori, chair of the U.S. Bishops Committee of Doctrine (and, less illustriously, as I point out in Good Catholic Girls, a bishop who has kept an accused priest sex molester in ministry after including his victim in a $21 million settlement). “We have altered the prudential judgment we previously made.”

The twisting of their theological “truths” to serve their own ends reveals the capricious nature of the decision-making process of this all-powerful, all-male hierarchy. Unfortunately, there is no indication that they are willing to allow the woman who has been raped or any other pregnant woman to make her own “prudential judgment.”

Interesting… if that’s the justification for EC, then how do they logically continue to oppose regular birth control?

(Answer: Logic never factored into it).


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13 comments for “Reluctant Compliance

  1. October 29, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    *checking all pockets*
    OH! there it is!

    my bullshit card. i am playing it now.

    whatever helps them sleep at night i guess…just glad that women can get the care they need…

    grr…there are SO many reasons i am not christian anymore…but i digress

  2. EG
    October 29, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    As dreadful as Vatican policy always is on this issue, the phrase is making me giggle. I keep imagining doctors in a personnel meeting being trained to look doleful and chanting “I’d really rather not, but I have to” in unison before being allowed to go to work.

  3. October 29, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    Seeing as I tend to ignore whatever the Catholic church thinks, as long as what they are doing is giving EC to rape victims

  4. kate
    October 30, 2007 at 12:09 am

    I keep imagining doctors in a personnel meeting being trained to look doleful and chanting “I’d really rather not, but I have to” in unison before being allowed to go to work.

    That would please the Catholic church and fundies everywhere quite a bit. I wouldn’t be so smug as to think that such private incantations do indeed occur and that the women getting the ‘detested’ treatment don’t immediately pick up on this.

    Nothing like a little more shame from those you must trust to throw into the pot with one’s rape trauma.

  5. kate
    October 30, 2007 at 12:10 am

    incantations do indeed

    I meant : “do not occur”

  6. EG
    October 30, 2007 at 12:46 am

    What’s smug? You’ve never heard of gallows humor?

  7. BruceJ
    October 30, 2007 at 10:18 am

    I have to go with a fictional doctor here:

    “Rational arguments don’t usually work for religious people, otherwise there would be no religious people.”

    Dr. Gregory House

  8. Entomologista
    October 30, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    Religion should have nothing to do with hospitals. You can’t dispense good, evidence-based medical care if you’re also trying satisfy a bunch of woo-woo bullshit. If we’re going to let religious people run hospitals we may as well start giving out magnet bracelets and using astrology to determine auspicious days for surgery.

  9. Mnemosyne
    October 30, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    You know, I don’t care how many frowny faces the hospital makes as long as they follow the law and make sure that women know that they can get this care. They can whine like frickin’ babies while they dispense the pills for all I care.

    It’s when they cheerfully pretend that EC doesn’t even exist that they piss me off

  10. kate
    October 31, 2007 at 2:53 am

    What’s smug? You’ve never heard of gallows humor?

    If I were to have suffered a trauma as significant as rape and had to face a bunch of tsk-tsking docs, I’d hardly find any humor in it. Hopefully such would be kept behind closed doors, but my experience leads causes me to believe such is not always the case.

    Its exactly the indirect shaming and doubt that the church wishes to implant, its worked well for quite a few hundred years, why stop?

  11. EG
    October 31, 2007 at 10:41 am

    Uh-huh. That’s…the point of gallows humor or black humor. It’s sarcasm about the essential absurdity of wretched situations. The joke wasn’t about rape victims; it was about doctors being herded in a room for lessons on being “reluctant.” You don’t have to find it funny, obviously, but I really don’t see what’s upset you so much about it.

  12. Chrissy
    October 31, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    I don’t see why we (I’m Catholic) can’t just say “The woman is in a morally superior position when she has been raped, and this trumps all other concerns, even the potential life.” We don’t have to figure out how to wrap our brains around contradictions just to make policy. And again, if we can’t provide health care, why are we still in the hospital business?

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