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Church backs morning-after pill for rape victims
Photo: DPA

Church backs morning-after pill for rape victims

Published: 05 Feb 2013 12:23 GMT+01:00
Updated: 05 Feb 2013 12:23 GMT+01:00

Clergy across North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) on Monday backed the Archbishop of Cologne's controversial decision to allow doctors in Catholic-run clinics in the western German state to prescribe rape victims the morning-after pill.

Archbishop Josef Cardinal Meisner caused a stir in Church circles last week when he said the morning-after pill was, in certain circumstances, not morally objectionable.

Bishops of the Münster, Aachen, Essen and Paderborn dioceses officially gave him their support on Monday, NRW paper the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung said.

In the instance of rape, medication that stopped pregnancy by halting the division of cells had the Archbishop's blessing. Chemical abortion pills, however, remained unacceptable in the eyes of the Church.

Two Catholic clinics in NRW came under fire in January after it emerged that they refused in December a woman who had been raped the morning-after pill. Their reasoning was that their medical treatment of the woman would result in ending a pregnancy, which is against Church doctrine.

The state's Health Minister Babara Steffens then said that they had failed to offer the woman thorough medical treatment and that their choice put the service available at NRW's Catholic health facilities into question.

“Now there is clarity for the future,” the state's Catholic office told the paper. The head of the office had asked for a clear opinion on the matter from the Archbishop, to prevent confusion.

Steffens called the Archbishop's decision “an important signal for securing the availability of thorough treatment for women in need at Catholic hospitals.” That other Bishops have agreed, meant that Steffens would not have to take legal action to make the pill available in Catholic institutions.

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Your comments about this article

13:05 February 5, 2013 by twisted
Seems simple to me...it is the right thing to do.
14:21 February 5, 2013 by SchwabHallRocks
Very significant for the Church... Most likely will be overturned in weeks by Rome.
17:05 February 5, 2013 by Omufu
Not sure what the difference is between the two types of pill. Chemical abortion aborts the fetus, and the other halts division of cells... which ultimately ends up with the same thing. If the basic idea is that personhood begins at conception then shouldn't the church be against both?

Just saying it seems inconsistent.
17:34 February 5, 2013 by yourkeau
I don't understand the logic behind the church's actions. If they deny morning after pill, the woman will have to undergo abortion, which is legal in Germany. I thought Catholic church is against abortions, but their actions are forcing women to do it.
22:48 February 5, 2013 by wood artist
@Omufu

The difference, medically, might be significant. The difference, as measured by the end result, is null. They Church needed to handle this as a PR thing, so they had to find some way to save the situation while, supposedly, not compromising their claims of power.

A great example of this logic just happened in Colorado in the US. A church hospital is being sued because a women 28 weeks pregnant with twins died while waiting for treatment in the ER. The twins died too. The church took the position that they couldn't be charged with the death of the twins because state law defines a 'life" as beginning with birth.

Immediately the outrage broke, and when everyone questioned their "life begins at conception (except if it's going to cost us a bunch of money)" position they flipped, now saying there was miss-communication between the hospital and their lawyers.

In the end it's all about the same thing. The church want's power and money, and that's all that matters.

wa
14:00 February 15, 2013 by Firmino
Why are still people listening to what these guys say as if it were relevant? Why, why, why????
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