Contraceptive issue becomes hot in Connecticut

| Mon Mar. 13, 2006 10:08 PM EST

20% of hospitals in Connecticut do not routinely offer contraceptives to all rape victims, but there is now a pending proposal that would make it illegal to not offer them. Rape counseling activists argue that not only should all hospitals provide contraception to rape victims, but that making women who are already traumatized go to another hospital or pharmacy to get them is contributing to their trauma.

The state has four Catholic hospitals which are, of course, opposed to offering contraception of any kind. What makes the Connecticut conflict interesting is that the state's Victim Advocate, James F. Papillo, is a Catholic, and is opposed to the proposed legislation, which he calls an "attack on religious freedom." Papillo's remarks resulted in calls for his resignation and also a reprimand from Connecticut governor M. Jodi Rell. But--stay with me here--Rell has also said publicly that she is not sure the legislation is necessary.

To make matters even more interesting, Democratic senator Joe Lieberman has spoken out against the legislation, saying that he believes that hospitals who refuse to provide contraception "for principled reasons" should not be forced to do so. "In Connecticut," he said, "It shouldn't take more than a short ride to get to another hospital."