Monday, December 22, 2008

Vatican: no MAP for rape victims

Briefing. The question of giving the Morning After Pill to rape victims is complicated by the claim that it can prevent ovulation. Depending on the rape victim's cycle, the claim is that it could be used licitly not to cause an abortion or prevent implantation, but to prevent conception in the first place. (Preventing conception resulting from rape is legitimate, since the act of sex was not consented to. What is forbidden is intending an act of sex which is contracepted.)

The ruling of Dignitas Personae addresses one particular aspect of this debate - whether it might be legitimate to prevent implantion: 'no', because it is an early form of abortion - and Bishop Sgreccia appears to be ruling out the MAP entirely. We agree with Bishop Sgreccia: since the action of the MAP is usually abortion (if there is any possibility of conception taking place), not only is it highly risky taking it after rape if one regards avoiding causing an abortion as a priority, but it causes scandal for a Catholic institution to hand them out even in restricted circumstances. In fact the situation for Catholic hospitals in the USA is that they are being asked to hand them out without restrictions.

From SPUC: Some Catholic hospitals in America provide morning-after pills to women who say they have been raped. The practice reportedly happens in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Washington state and Wisconsin. Dignitas Personae says that seeking to prevent a human embryo's implantation, which the pills can do, is generally the same as intending to perform an abortion. Bishop Elio Sgreccia, former head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, has told LifeSiteNews that there are no exceptions to the ban on morning-after pills. [LifeSiteNews, 17 December] NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts asked for such pills at 70 hospitals in the state and were refused by two Catholic institutions. This is reportedly against local law which requires all hospitals to provide morning-after pills to women who allege rape. [CWNews on EWTN, 16 December]

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen