News and Commentary
Challenging their own slogan of "freedom of choice," abortion proponents are championing the CARE Act, legislation that would require health care workers and hospitals to offer morning-after pills to rape victims, even if this would violate the worker's beliefs or the hospital's religious affiliation.
At a Capitol Hill press conference on June 15, Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Jon Corzine (D-New Jersey) and Hillary Clinton (D-New York), and Reps. Steve Rothman (D-New Jersey), Carolyn Maloney (D-New York) and Rob Simmons (R-Connecticut), introduced a so-called "pregnancy prevention bill": the "Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies (CARE) Act. " The bill reintroduces, with small changes, H.R. 2527, which was sponsored by Reps. Jim Greenwood (R-Pennsylvania) and Rothman in the 108th Congress.
Using information from Planned Parenthood, the congressmen claim that more than 300,000 women are raped in the U.S. each year, and that 25,000 pregnancies result from those rapes. They estimate that 22,000 of those pregnancies could be prevented if the victims have access to the morning-after pill, also known as "emergency contraception (EC)."1 According to a doctor and nurse at the press conference, they are high doses of the birth control pill that will prevent either ovulation or fertilization. Rothman said that the morning-after pill can also prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.
According to Rothman, "EC reduces the number of abortions by preventing pregnancies resulting from rape that would otherwise be terminated by an abortion."
Rothman failed to mention, however, that while it is commonly assumed that rape victims who become pregnant want abortions, the majority of these women choose to have their babies. In the only major study of pregnant rape victims, Dr. Sandra Mahkorn found that 75 to 85 percent chose against abortion.2
The deeper shame is that the CARE Act exploits the horrific experiences of rape victims to push the liberal agenda. By passing foot-in-the-door legislation to make morning-after pills a forced option for rape victims, the door would swing wide open for greater acceptance and access to any female who walks through the door.
Advocates for the drug accuse those who choose not to dispense it of "imposing their religious beliefs" on others. Yet declining to dispense a drug does not force anyone to believe anything. On the other hand, this legislation requires people to accept an unscientific "belief" that life doesn't begin until an embryo (with separate and distinct DNA from the mother) attaches to his or her mother's womb - and does more than that. It obliges people - with the force of federal law - to participate in what they believe to be the killing of a little human being.
"Many women hold moral beliefs and would be offended that politicians have such contempt for deeply held convictions," said Wendy Wright, senior policy director for Concerned Women for America. "After soundly losing a significant number of Americans who based their votes on moral values, some politicians seem intent on offending them even more.
"While every profession requires ethics, we are most vulnerable to those in the health care arena because they deal with our health and lives. Yet this legislation would strip the medical profession of people who hold religious beliefs, or strip moral beliefs from medical professionals."
According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, "The law should not require hospitals to administer so-called 'emergency contraception' when those drugs will end the life of a newly conceived human embryo. Hospitals can offer rape victims treatments that are truly contraceptive and address their other needs with compassion and respect."
By forcing hospitals and physicians to endorse the morning-after pill, even if only for rape victims, the federal government would disregard moral objections in the realm of medicine. This would deepen the schism that liberals are trying to place not just between medicine and morality, but also between politicians and citizens with religious values.
Lindsey Douthit and Amelia Wigton are interns with CWA's Ronald Reagan Memorial Internship Program. Lindsey recently graduated from Baylor University and Amelia, from Liberty University.
- Abortion proponents prefer to call the drug "emergency contraception" to imply that it operates only by preventing conception. Yet their own experts admit that it "prevents implantation" - that is, the implantation of an embryo, a new life. To accommodate this distortion, they insist that life begins at implantation.
- Sandra Mahkorn, "Pregnancy and Sexual Assault," The Psychological Aspects of Abortion, eds. Mall & Watts, (Washington, D.C.: University Publications of America, 1979), 55-69.