Colorado Catholic hospitals must offer abortifacient drugs to victims of rape under a controversial new law signed by Governor Bill Ritter Thursday, the Denver Post reported earlier today.
Although Senate Bill 60 contains an exception allowing physicians or medical practitioners who object to the drug on religious or moral grounds to opt out of recommending it, all hospitals, including Catholic, are required to retain staff that will offer information on so-called "emergency contraception."
Colorado Right to Life opposed the law, saying the drug is falsely marketed as contraception when in fact it can cause early-stage abortion. Pro-life groups had successfully lobbied against previous versions of the bill, under the administration of former Governor Bill Owens.
"We reject the claim that it is emergency contraception because we know that in many cases…it prevents implantation of a newly created embryo, and that's a human life," said Leslie Hanks with Right to Life.
Additionally, opponents of the bill said the measure should have included a clause requiring that parents be informed before the information was given to minor girls.
"The problem is circumventing the parents in giving this very important information," said Rep. Marsha Looper. "You don't know what type of religious implications there may be by educating the young lady. I think it's always helpful to have the parents or guardian there," the Colorado Springs Gazette reported.
Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput challenged Ritter in January to ensure his actions as governor reflected his professed Roman Catholic faith. Ritter ran as a pro-life candidate in last fall's election.
"Mr. Ritter's stated commitment to 'restore eligibility requirements for state funding for pregnancy prevention and family planning programs' is seriously flawed public policy," wrote Archbishop Chaput in his column in this week's Denver Catholic Register.
"It's hard to have a future 'for our children and our children's children' without children, and in practice, Planned Parenthood specializes in the business of preventing them," the archbishop stated, referring to Ritter's pledge to create a better future for coming generations, in his State of the State address last week.