More Warnings About "Morning-After" Pill

Scottish Bishops and Mexican Primate Cite Abortive Properties

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GLASGOW, Scotland, APR. 8, 2001 ( Bishops on both sides of the Atlantic are warning that the «morning-after» pill is potentially abortive, and not just contraceptive as its advocates claim.

Catholic bishops in Scotland are telling the faithful that taking the «morning-after» pill, authorized for sale to over-16-year-olds by the government earlier this year, is the equivalent of a «chemically induced abortion,» the Guardian newspaper of London reported today. The primate of Mexico sounded a similar warning.

The warnings come in the wake of last week´s statements by Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, prefect of the Pontifical Council for the Family. In an interview with a Spanish weekly, the cardinal said that many media reports were incorrectly calling the «morning-after» pill a contraceptive, when in fact it can be abortive.

In a pastoral letter, signed by all eight Scottish bishops, to be read out at Masses in coming weeks, congregations will be told: «The Church cannot remain silent on this issue, given the serious nature of what is being proposed,» the Guardian reported.

The letter will exhort Catholic doctors and pharmacists as well as parents and teen-agers to refuse to sanction the use of the pill. About 700,000 of Scotland´s 5 million inhabitants are Catholic.

The statement adds: «By offering over-the-counter potentially abortifacient drugs to 16-year-olds, parental rights are being undermined and family bonds weakened.

«If our teen-agers feel they are so unimportant that we can leave this aspect of their health care to a 10-minute chat in a busy pharmacy, with a pharmacist who cannot carry out any physical examination, or consult medical records, we are sending out a regrettable and dangerous message to a highly vulnerable group.»

The letter is being sent out in the name of Cardinal Thomas Winning, president of the Scottish bishops´ conference, who has led a long campaign against abortion, even giving financial support to women who opt not to abort their unborn babies.

In Mexico City, meanwhile, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera addressed youths attending a congress entitled, «Unmasking New Abortive Means.»

He said the morning-after pill is not a contraceptive «as some state, because there is life from the moment the ovum is fertilized.»

«We must make all medical and pharmaceutical professionals aware, so that they will be witnesses of the value of human life, and defend the weakest and defenseless, which is the case of the human embryo, innocent victim of a culture and policy unable to adequately support the dignity of the person,» the cardinal stated.

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