Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"That Oughta Be Illegal"

These were the words uttered by a man standing next to me this morning, at the cafe, when this article got me darn pissed off.

LEBANON - A Good Samaritan Hospital emergency room doctor refused to give a rape victim a morning-after pill because he said it was against his Mennonite religion.

Rebuffed by the doctor, the woman called her gynecologist, who wrote the prescription. Her local pharmacy told her it was out of the drug and referred her to a sister store in Reading.

The former medical director of the hospital said he sees nothing strange about asking a woman from eastern Lebanon County to drive to Reading for a drug.

"People drive to Reading to buy jeans. Even if that were the case, that you had to drive to Reading to get this [prescription], to me that does not rise to a compulsion that you have to pass laws that [doctors] have to do something," Dr. Joe Kearns said.

You know, driving to the next town to get Plan B after a rape is sure like buying jeans--just a small commute but a big pay off.

"The question is, if you are a physician, do you have to provide services to patients that you think are heinous? And the answer is in this country [is] no, you don't," Kearns [former medical director of the hospital] said.

You see, it's exactly comments like this that really clarify for me why I must stay committed to fighting pro-lifers. You think it's heinous to give a high dose of birth control pills to a woman who has just been raped? What about the rape? What about this woman's life?

Pennsylvania, among other states, does not require hospitals to adminster medication or treatment to patients, that violates their own religious principles. Look, all I can say, is that if you are dying from a gun shot wound, best be more hospitals in town than a Christian Science one. Who has time to figure out which hospital to go to after a rape?

UPDATE: Here is information on the Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies (CARE) Act

Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies (CARE) Act

Please contact your State Representative and Senator today and urge them to co-sponsor the Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies (CARE) Act, HB2159 in the House, and SB990 in the Senate. Find my legislators.

See Sample Letter to Legislators.

The CARE Act would require hospitals and healthcare facilities to:

  • Inform victims of sexual assault about emergency contraception
  • Provide emergency contraception to victims upon request, and
  • Inform victims about local rape crisis center services and hospital accompaniment.

Emergency Contraception (EC) is a safe, effective way for women to prevent these pregnancies from occurring and avoid the additional trauma of an unwanted pregnancy. EC is not the abortion pill known as RU486.

  • More than 50% of Pennsylvania hospitals do not provide EC to victims
  • An estimated 25,000 sexual assault victims become pregnant each year as a result of their attack
  • 84% of Pennsylvanians support rape victims having access to Emergency Contraception.

Because most women in Pennsylvania have not heard about Emergency Contraception (75% according to a recent study), most victims rely on emergency health care providers, who are truly the first point of medical contact for sexual assault victims, for this vital information.

The Women's Law Project urges you to take action by contacting your Pennsylvania State Representative and Pennsylvania Senator to support the CARE Act. Please let us know if your legislators agree to co-sponsor and/or support this legislation by sending an email to: info@womenslawproject.org.