German cardinal in dispute over morning-after pill

Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne has been embroiled in controversy after making a statement apparently approving the use of some forms of the morning-after pill for victims of rape.

Though a spokeswoman for the German cardinal said he had consulted the Vatican, the president of the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, Dr Jose Maria Simon Castellvi, said he had been misinformed about the effects of the pill.

Dr Simon said “the morning-after pill works as an anti-implantation product in 70 per cent of the cases where the woman is fertile”.

Cardinal Meisner was drawn into the discussion about the morning-after pill after a story surfaced in the local press about a 25-year-old woman who walked into an emergency room and told the attending physician that she thought she was drugged and possibly sexually assaulted at a party the night before.

The doctor on call said she called two different Catholic hospitals and asked if they would admit the woman, but both refused because the prescribed course of treatment would involve using the morning-after pill.

Cardinal Meisner subsequently met medical experts who told him the latest research on the morning-after pill indicated the drug does not have anti-implantation effects.

He then issued a statement saying that if “a medication that hinders conception is used after a rape with the purpose of avoiding fertilisation, then this is acceptable in my view”.

His statement was widely interpreted by the media as giving permission for Catholic hospitals to dispense the morning-after pill to rape victims.

The head of Germany’s Association of Gynaecologists, Dr Christian Albring, said there were two pills with exclusively contraceptive (and not abortive) effects available in Germany.

But the president of the Catholic doctors’ federation, Dr Simon, pointed out that the manufacturer of the morning-after pill says the drug may prevent an embryo from implanting on the uterine wall.

“So, we cannot accept it, since even a microscopic human embryo is a person with rights, dignity and a son of God,” Dr Simon insisted.




The Tablet

Image: Yahoo! Noticias

Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , , ,