Sunday, January 17, 2010

More On the Coakley-Brown Emergency Contraception Issue.

A new post from Sargent at the Plum Line makes it sound like he's missed the entire hoopla over the "devout Catholic" comments Coakley made on radio recently. Sargent reports thatshe's got a flier out attacking Brown on the issue, below.

But just to be perfectly clear: Catholic hospitals have been fighting this law since it came down. Because they are governed by the USCCBs Ethical and Religious Directives, they say they should not be forced to provide rape victims with emergency contraception because they believe contraception causes an abortion. In many Catholic hospitals across the country, women will only be given the EC after a pregnancy test has proven the victim is not pregnant. In other words, Catholic hierarchy is demanding that its care facilities not be subject to state laws and in many cases are non-compliant. If a provider or institution refuses to administer EC, it should be required to inform victims of the pill and give them a meaningful referral.

And an aside: these hospitals are tax exempt, receive 50% of their funding from the federal government, and serve pluralistic societies. If that's not federally funded discrimination, I don't know what is.

This is absolutely brutal: Massachusetts Dems have dropped a mail piece accusing GOP Senate candidate Scott Brown of wanting hospitals to turn away “all” rape victims.

The mail piece — sent over by the Brown campaign — shows pictures of women who are supposed to have been raped, one of them in a wheelchair bent over with her head in her hands. It says: “1,736 WOMEN WERE RAPED IN MASSACHUSETTS IN 2008. SCOTT BROWN WANTS HOSPITALS TO TURN THEM ALL AWAY.”

Click to enlarge:



The mailer — paid for by the Massachusetts Democratic Party — says the claim is based on “a law to let emergency hospitals turn away rape victims in need of emergency contraception.” That appears to be a reference to a Brown-sponsored 2005 amendment that would have exempted hospital personnel, on religious grounds, to inform victims of the availability of the morning after pill.

As Coakley’s own Web site says, after Brown’s amendment was rejected, he voted in favor of the bill to require emergency rooms to provide rape victims with emergency contraceptives, and the whole debate seems to be more nuanced than the mailer suggests.

The mailer could be related to the fact that internal Dem polling reportedly shows Coakley under-performing with less-affluent women.


Update: Scott Brown and Republicans attack the Coakley campaign over the mailer.

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