Battle of Ideas: Don’t Shut Down Religious Hospitals That Won’t Administer Emergency Contraception to Rape Victims-Legislation Alive in 2003, 2004 Makes it Illegal for Religious Hospitals to Follow Religious Beliefs

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”’HB 189 HD2 passed the state Legislature but was vetoed by Gov. Linda Lingle. The purpose of the bill was to require hospitals to provide emergency contraception to sexual assault victims. The issue centered around whether or not a religious hospital, such as St. Francis, a Catholic hospital, would be exempted or forced to provide the contraception against its clearly stated religious philosophy. The original bill had been amended to allow such hospitals to be exempt considering there were other alternative hospitals available in near proximity. The final version of the bill, however, took out the exemption and further provided as part of the penalty provision closure of the facility by the state if it did not provide emergency contraception. A legal challenge to the bill was threatened by the hospital and other religious groups. The debate in the House and the Senate was passionate and extensive. No one was really in opposition to the concept of providing assistance including emergency contraception to rape victims. Rather the debate centered around forcing all hospitals to comply and the severity of the penalty provision. Speaking in opposition to the bill on the floor of the House is Rep. Mark Moses, R-Kapolei. He debates Rep. Marilyn Lee, D-Mililani, to further the battle of ideas. See her statement at”’ “Battle of Ideas: Hospitals Should Be Mandated to Distribute Emergency Contraception to Rape Victims”

“Mark Moses Image”


Rep. Mark Moses written remarks in opposition to the measure follows:

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak in opposition to HB 189, HD 2. This measure requires ”’all”’ hospitals to: 1) provide information on emergency contraceptives, and 2) offer and provide such contraceptive services — more commonly referred to as the “morning after pill” — to sex assault survivors in hospital emergency rooms. The Committee on Health correctly amended this bill in HD 1 to be exempting religious hospitals from providing emergency contraception information and services. The Committee on Judiciary, however, in HD 2, deleted the religious hospital exemption. The Committee on Finance then passed HD 2 unamended, despite strong and convincing testimony urging otherwise.

I must make it clear that I am not insensitive to the needs of sex assault survivors. What truly needs to be considered here is the fact the passage of this bill may unnecessarily expose both the state and hospitals to increased liability. First, requiring hospitals to dispense the “morning after pill” may interfere with the constitutional rights of religious hospitals, who may be morally opposed to providing information about emergency contraception. Second the bill expressly states, “(e)mergency contraception cannot and does not cause abortion” (page 1, lines 16-17, emphasis added). This is misleading: it was revealed in Committee, as one might easily conclude on their own, that it can and does. There is also evidence that suggests emergency contraception may cause severe side-effects. This may result in the state being liable for “misrepresentation,” due to the bill’s deceptive wording and lack of acknowledgment, or a requirement to warn, of known, possible side-effects. Finally, this bill does not adequately address the issue of hospital liability (due to health risks and side-effects), and the additional costs incurred by emergency rooms (for services rendered).

We cannot afford to expose either the state or hospitals to additional liability. As it stands, under HB 189, HD 2, the penalties for religious hospitals are too great, and their constitutionally guaranteed rights are likely being infringed upon. Furthermore, the potential closure of one of these hospitals, due to this measure, is simply not an option for our state. For these reasons, I vote “no” on this bill.

”’Mark Moses is the Republican Representative for the area of Kapolei on the island of Oahu.”’