Friday, August 25, 2006

Plan B and Connecticut

Plan B will soon be available over the counter for women over the age of 18. Today's Courant has an article considering what that means for the emergency contraception debate here at home.


"Today's decision is welcome news, but it does not improve emergency contraception access at Connecticut hospitals," said Laura Cordes, director of policy and advocacy at Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services Inc., a coalition of nine rape counseling programs.
****
Rape counselors also said that without a law requiring hospitals to give a full dose of Plan B in the emergency room, little will change for rape victims. Although Connecticut's four Catholic hospitals have come under fire, Cordes said non-Catholic hospitals have also been reluctant about providing the drug.

Preliminary figures gathered by Sexual Assault Crisis Services show that in the first six months of 2006, four in 10 victims accompanied to Connecticut hospitals by rape crisis counselors were not given a complete dose of Plan B. Some were given prescriptions, while others were given one dose and a prescription for the second pill, which must be swallowed 12 hours later.

Victims who did not get complete access to the pills were treated at both Catholic and non-Catholic hospitals, Cordes said.


It's great to see the drug become more widely available, but I worry that Connecticut hospitals will use this as another excuse not to make emergency contraception available in the ER for patients who request it.

Source
Waldman, Hillary. "Plan B: Easier Access Allowed". Hartford Courant. 8/25/06

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

cgg - let me play devil's advocate here.

If Plan B can be purchased at any drug store by anyone over the age of 18 without a prescription 24 hours a day, why would you want government forcing the 4 roman catholic hospitals in this state to provide medication that in their honest belief is contrary to their religious beliefs? Isn't that too much govvernment interference?

Maybe as a compromise it can be made available at a pharmacy in the hospital. Do they have one?

cgg said...

Read the article. It's not just Catholic hospitals where women have difficulty getting emergency contraception.

I don't particularly care who distributes EC, but it should be available right in the ER. I'd be fine with a nurse practictioner who is employed by the state giving it out. As long as it's made available to those who need it compromise is fine.

bluecoat said...

Anonymous: all hospitals have pharmacies as you might expect since hospitals do dispense drugs and only pharmacists can do that but few hospitals have outpatient pharmacies on site - I know of only one in Fairfield County. To listen to your questions to cgg, you sound like you think that a rape victim is like someone showing up at the ER with a brush cut. It doesn't work that way - they are emotoionally and physically traumatized to varying degrees. They have already been had the trauma forced on them they shouldn't have "religious beliefs" forced on them by a hospital that holds itself out to be a community service and accepts govt funds to provide that service when the govt. has said that Plan B is legal, safe and effective when used as directed. Traumatized rape victime should be offered a full range of services and that includes Plan B - but we've been here before on this.

TrueBlueCT said...

Who are the freaks that think a rape victim shouldn't receive emergency contraception, and even an abortion if necessary?

The objectors are purely political. What I wish is that Jesus himself would come back down to Earth to throw these frauds out of the temple.

C'mon wingers. Someone please make the case that Jesus would side with the "principled" clerics over the actual rape victim.

A Different Anonymous (No! Really!) said...

TrueBlue/DeanFan, always the first to personify turning the other cheek and "The soft answer turneth away wrath."

Anonymous said...

Let the rape counselors hand them out, since they don't need a prescription for them. To force the catholic hospitals to give them out is a serious intrusion of the state into a religious entity. If you push them too far, all they will do is stop taking the uninsured as well - which they do out of their willingness to help the poor, not because they are getting rich on state funding.

bluecoat said...

Wow!! the Daughters of Charity are threatening to turn down the poor if they they accept govt. funds and are told they need to follow govt. guidelines!!! Nobody is intruding into anybody's religion except the RC Hospitals who are trying to force their beliefs on innocent traumintized victims that need aid and comfort. They can't have it both ways - or at least they shouldn't be allowed to. Pretzel logic too often abounds from the religious wrong..

Anonymous said...

So bluecoat, when a woman arrives at the RC Hospital, traumatized because she is now pregnant as the result of a rape (or worse incest) and demands an abortion, becasue it has been more than 72 hours, you believe that the RC Hospital should perform that abortion. I'm glad we all understand your postion.

bluecoat said...

I didn't say anything about an abortion. You did anon. I don't do pretzel logic like you.

bluecoat said...

and yes, I know Jodi cut a deal on this with the RC bishops but that doesn't make it right.

Wolcottboy said...

First, I thought the Lamonter's didn't want government intrusion into private lives. This is government intruding on an exempt entity - private hospitals.

(oh yeah, private hospitals and corporations like Walmart don't count... I forgot.)

Secondly, a hospital isn't Burger King. You don't get what you want your way. At Burger King, you can walk in and order a whopper, double whopper, hamburger without pickles - anything you want. At a hospital, you are the burger. You have a headache? With stomach pain? But you don't have a twitch in your leg? Oh, ok, then you're a cheesburger with mustard and onions. (the diagnosis). The only way to treat you is if person O walks up to the counter and we have it available.

Oh... you have chest pain, a twitch in your leg, difficulty breathing and a runny nose? That makes you a double whopper with the works. We can treat you with person J.
Oh... you have the sniffles, fever and joint aches? Sorry - your a plain burger with no bun. We don't have a person that likes you yet. No cure.

You can't walk into a hospital and say "I want this treatment." It doesn't work that way. And culture changes from one area to another. Shout "Rowland" on a streetcorner in Hartford and then do the same in Waterbury. You'll get two different responses. The same values change from hospital to hospital, based on their philosophy. And they have a right to it. This is America.

bluecoat said...

Wolcott Boy: what part of entities accepting govt. funds should be abiding by govt. rules don't you understand? And I am no Lamonter BTW, maybe others are.

The True Gentleman said...

I do not find fault with the decision by the FDA to approve Plan B as an over-the-counter contraceptive. However, no law should ever be passed mandating that a hospital provide it. Just as there exists a right to choose in this country, there also exists a right to the exercise of religion, which includes the freedom to act. A Catholic hospital obviously follows the religious teachings of the Vatican, which does not support the right to choose. Therefore, a catholic hospital has the right to refuse to provide Plan B under the law.

Perhaps a solution to the problem that this creates is that the police officer or ambulance escorting the victim to a hospital should be required to inquire as to the victim's religion before deciding which hospital to take the victim to. There is no perfect solution here, but we all need to remember what the law provides and who the law protects -- both the victim's right to choose and the private hospital's right to exercise religion free from government intrusion.

bluecoat said...

TG:what part of entities accepting govt. funds should be abiding by govt. rules don't you understand? If the RC Hospital doesn't want to follow govt rules then it shouldn't accept govt. funds.
And something similar to the ambulance protocol you suggest is in place and discussed in an earlier blog; but it is hardly in the best interest of the rape victim and it isn't routinely followed either.

cgg said...

TG, emergency contraception IS NOT ABORTION. I know that the Catholic Church doesn't support birth control either, but the abortion debate doesn't come into play.

bluecoat said...

St. Vincent's Medical Malpractice Center in Bridgeport has no problem allowing doctors who perform abortions in other hospitals and prescribe birth control pills from their offices as well to deliver babies in their hospital. And as far as I know their employees can use birth control and condoms - and even carry them on their person at work.

The True Gentleman said...

Bluecoat, I didn't comment on the government funding of the hospitals. It is the government's perogative to cut off funding to the Roman Catholic hospitals if those hospitals choose not to administer or make available Plan B to its patients. If the government goes that route (which it has not said it will or will not), the government will likely be sued for violating the exercise of religious freedom and the courts will be forced to sort it out. As for my example, I was attempting discussion of possible alternatives that could be suitable to both sides - I never said it was a great alternative, only an alternative.

And CGG, the Catholic Church considers Plan B to be an abortifacient drug (come on, I know you are not that naive and that you recognize that any discussion concerning post-copulation contraceptives and catholic hospitals is going to evolve into a forum on abortion). Accordingly, catholic hospitals should not be forced to administer it. Look, I respect that the law of this land is that a woman has a right to choose. I dislike pro-life protestors who stand in front of abortion clinics and family planning centers hounding women who are seeking counseling or undergoing procedures (which I am sure is a very difficult decision to make). However, the problem herein lies with the fact that there are two distinct rights (which the Constitution and our courts recognize) which apply here -- so which is more important? The answer is that they are equally important under our laws and both should be respected.

bluecoat said...

You're spinning with your logic on govt funding. And Plan B is a high dose of a birth control pill and it works the same way. Is birth control now abortion?

cgg said...

TG I disagree with the premise and will do my utmost to contradict the pairing of the two. One of the big problems with this issue is that so many people who are generally supportive of birth control think that EC is a form of abortion. From my POV we can't even have a rational discussion about EC until we recognize that Plan B is not abortion.

The True Gentleman said...

Bluecoat, it is obvious you are not looking for a real discussion based on your comment. There is no spin in my federal funding discussion and we both know that I was discussing the catholic church's position on what Plan B is (or isn't). For the record, I am not Catholic and am not pushing the Church's agenda here. If you want an answer to your last question, call the Catholic Church and ask them what the Church's position is -- I don't speak for it.

The True Gentleman said...

As I said, CGG, herein lies the problem.

bluecoat said...

Government funding is at the core of the issue. If the RC's weren't accepting govt funds I could care less what they do as long as theydon't hurt someone - and not offering up Plan B could very well be considered malpracitce given that today it should be and offered standard of care to prevent pregnancy due to rape. St. Vincent is running an ad on the radio right now that says time is of the essence for getting treated for a stroke - the same logic applies to rape and avoiding pregnancy. Plan B and birth control are the same chemical entity declared safe, legal and effective by the govt when used as directed by appropriate users.

Jodi cut a deal on this with the RC Bishops!!!!!! Govt. funding is at the core of the issue.

The True Gentleman said...

Bluecoat, I don't dispute that government funding is one of the central issues here. I already said that the government has the authority to revoke its funding if the Roman Catholic hospitals choose not to administer Plan B. Another alternative is that the government could seek a reverse injunction ordering the hospitals to administer Plan B in emergency situations (I'm not saying that this would work, only that it is an option). Your analogy to a stroke victim is wrong though b/c a stroke victim faces an imminent (meaning minutes) risk whereas a rape victim can be moved to another hospital within an hour and administered Plan B within the time frame of the drugs effect.

I read somewhere that Massachusetts passed a law in December 2005 requiring all hospitals (including catholic hospitals) to make Plan B available to rape victims, but I have not heard (or taken the time to look) whether catholic hospitals are actually making it available.

bluecoat said...

TG: your suggestion of shuffling rape victims from hospital to hospital is absolutley ludicrous from both a medical standpoint and a human compassionate standpoint. As I recall you are trained as a lawyer not a pharmacologist or a doctor or a rape counselor. Treatment for a rape is an emergency, period. And BTW, I have the same problem with the public hospitals that aren't offering up Plan B; it's like the hospitals that still don't offer aspirin after a heart attack - it's negligence that can hurt someone.

Jodi is sitting on her hands on this because it's not a highly publicized issue and therefor she doesn't hve to do anything to stay popular with the voters.

The True Gentleman said...

Bluecoat, you don't know me or my background, so I suggest you tread lightly when questioning what I know or don't know, and what experiences I have had over the years. I have never held myself to be a doctor, nurse practitioner, physician's assistant, nurse, medical researcher, etc. You should follow your own advice and use caution when using words like "standard of care" and "negligence." I agree that it is not a wise decision or compassionate to shuffle victims from hospital to hospital, but I believe that you also opposed asking the victim if they are aware that a catholic hospital will not administer emergency contraception prior to taking them to a hospital. Your opinion is obviously firm and it is beneath me to try to dissuade you, for you are entitled to your opinion.

bluecoat said...

but I believe that you also opposed asking the victim if they are aware that a catholic hospital will not administer emergency contraception prior to taking them to a hospital but I don't know why you would beleive that since I never siad that. In fact I said the protocol was already in place to do that when you suggested it but i also said to often it doesn't work.

bluecoat said...

And the protocol is less than compassionate. The place to counsel a rape victim on the options and standard of care for treating rape is not in the back of an ambulance with sirens wailing just to satisfy men in skirts making decisions for women. I thought Republicans believed in consumer driven healthcare not hospital ideological driven care..

bluecoat said...

BTW when you said You should follow your own advice and use caution when using words like "standard of care" and "negligence." you should know that I do; and I don't have to be a lawyer to know what they are or what they mean or how they are applied.

The True Gentleman said...

Bluecoat, my error re: that last example, I thought you had opposed that scenario (which you actually just did at 10:57 a.m.) earlier. I apologize for the mistake. In response to your 10:57 a.m. comment, would the following scenario be satisfactory to you? There are approximately 27 non-catholic hospitals in this state - what if rape victims were only taken to a non-catholic hospital (or even a non-catholic clinic)? That way, the victim gets the care she needs or seeks without "men in skirts making decisions for women" (as you put it). You know what, it just dawned on me - I am attempting to find some sort of compromise here that would allow the victim to get the care she needs without someone making a decision for her or her having to make a decision when obviously would be traumatized, while respecting religious freedom. What just hit me is your apparent derogatory comments directed towards the Catholic Church (a faith which I personally do not follow but many people do). Am I reading this incorrectly, or do you have a problem with catholicism in general and, therefore, are incapable of actually trying to reach a compromise on this issue?

And I am happy that you can understand the legal ramifications of the words of "standard of care" and "negligence."

bluecoat said...

The term "men in skirts making decisions for women" comes directly from a memebr of the RC Church - and one who considers them devout - I just regurgitated it. Bill O' Reilly uses it on occasion and he claims to be a faithful member of the RC Church.

As for your assertion and question - pretend for one minute that you have just been brutally raped and beaten, then answer the problem for yourself...

Jodi cut a deal with the men in skirts..and it's a bd deal for rape victims.

The True Gentleman said...

And the answer is . . . I am glad I was taken to X public hospital where Plan B is available to me if I want it (and as a citizen of this country who respects all of the laws of the land and not just the ones that benefit, I am glad that the Roman Catholic hospitals are not forced to administer this drug because it is available in at least 27 other hospital or clinical settings for emergency use -- which I didn't have to think about either because I was automatically taken to the nearest public hospital).

bluecoat said...

Good answer TG - now tell Jodi and the 169 or more emergency service transport providers in CT.

bluecoat said...

and the emergency trasnsport service providers will tell you what you want to do isn't practical for a whole bunch of reasons if they are honest. Entities that take govt money should abide by govt rules and offering up Plan B as an alternative should be a rule. But politicians who take money from entities who accept govt. money often don't require that they follow the rules. It's ashame this will end up in court and probably have to be decided by the Supremes of the land.

cgg said...

You two are both missing the point. It's not just Catholic hospitals where women have trouble obtaining Plan B. It's hospitals, period.

bluecoat said...

cgg: I mentioned that at 4:36 - not offering up Plan B as a standard of care by any hospital is negligence and if the rape victim is permanently injured as a result it's clear malpractice although probably tough to prove. the oath to do no harm is too often meaningless.

And I happen to know a nurse who is a Jehovah Witness - they don't believe in transferring body fluids, i.e. blood transfusions - who applies her beleifs to herself but she would never deny the standard of care to another who didn't share her beleifs.