For those of you who were wondering, there is something foul in the Wisconsin air these days. It appears that even though the state legislature is pressing ahead for passage of a bill that would require all hospitals, including those with religious affiliation, to dispense "emergency contraception," the Wisconsin Catholic Conference has remained "neutral."
The bill, by the way, defines "emergency contraception" as either the morning after pill OR the IUD. And the state legislature has already given the bill preliminary approval, so the stakes are pretty high and the final vote is scheduled for January 23.
Now in the midst of this crazy problem with state Catholic conferences having difficluty dealing with clear defense of Catholic teaching, there comes the heroic stand taken by Bishop Robert Morlino and followed by support from his fellow Bishop James Listecki. These two bishops have made it perfectly clear that they are not supporting any measure which compromises Catholic health care.
But, I ask you, what about the three remaining bishops and the bureacracy that is advising them?
Bishop Morlino has been so outstanding in his articulation of Catholic teaching that he recently wrote to the Wisconsin legislature pointing out to them that the inane communications from Catholics for a Free Choice in support of AB 377 have nothing to do with Catholic doctrine. He wrote, "Irresposnibly claiming to be Catholic while rejecting the basic Catholic values that are to be embodied in emergency contraception legislation, is yet another source of scandal and confusion for faithful Catholics and all those who claim to be pro-life."
So why are the rest of the Wisconsin bishops and their conference not following suit? Well, perhaps the problem is political, but we certainly hope not. Or maybe they are confused, but we cannot see how. Or is the money they are afraid their health care facilities would lose? We dare not suspect such a thing! Anyway, there is some reason for the inertia.
This is why we are so grateful to Michael Phillips, M.D., who wrote to Archbishop Timothy Dolan on behalf of the Milwaukee Guild of the Catholic Medical Association:
The lack of opposition from the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, Wisconsin Right to Life and our bishops has been used in testimony and press releases by Planned Parenthood et al to garner support from legislators who have previously opposed "emergency contraception" legislation. And their tactic has been effective. Each of the Wisconsin Guilds of the Catholic Medical Association speaks with one voice in opposition to this bill.
To my knowledge no representative of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference contacted our organization before dropping its previous opposition to this mandate.
The conscience rights of Wisconsin physicians and hospitals need to be protected.
Please allow our Guild members to meet with you to discuss this deceptive legislation. It is both discouraging and shameful that we have been ignored on this issue.
Praise the Lord for Dr. Phillips and his Catholic Medical Association peers. Having met with Dr. Phillips recently I can assure you that he is doing all he can to make sure the Wisconsin Catholic Conference is aware of how Catholic physicians feel regarding this oppressive legislation proposal. One has to wonder how such an eloquent physician could be ignored by the very people who represent Wisconsin Catholics in the state.
Please keep the Wisconsin Catholic bishops in your prayers. God knows, we need a miracle in that state and we need it now!