On one of the Catholic forums I post at, we are having a lively discussion about the decision of a few Catholic hospitals in five states to allow the emergency "morning after" pill to rape victims. The Catholic Medical Association is opposed to the use of the pill, because it acts as an abortifacient. The diocesan bishops where these hospitals are located are allowing the use of the morning after pill, also known as Plan B, for rape situations, "where 'appropriate testing' has determined that the woman is not pregnant and thus the pill, in halting ovulation may prevent a pregnancy occurring as a result of the rape."
While this sounds moral, the real problem is, that the medical tests used to determine pregnancy cannot be absolutely reliable to detect a pregnancy at fertilization, but only after implantation which takes more than a week after the new life is formed. So what the Catholic hospitals are doing, is administering a test to see if the rape victim has ovulated, and if she hasn't, then they administer the abortifacient pill. As LifeSite News reports, though, "medical evidence demonstrates considerable doubt that even these tests can detect a potential fertilization in time to prevent an abortion caused by administration of the pill."
To further complicate the picture, previous studies are inconclusive and indicate the pill only works half the time to halt ovulation. This would result in an unintended abortion, since fertilization could still occur even after the pill is administered, because the pills weaken the lining of the uterus making implantation unsustainable.
This is obviously a complicated matter. The Catholic Medical Association is against it, saying that this "emergency contraception" does not necessarily prevent fertilization. Regardless, some of the Bishops approve of it, saying, "We would not object to passage of a statute that would require all hospitals to adopt protocols requiring the distribution of Plan B to sexual assault victims when medically appropriate."
Will the Vatican step in? They have already issued a document on this situation for Italy, called "Statement on the So-Called Morning After Pill." Here, they do not condone its use. Why would they for America?