From ............. National Catholic Reporter

March 11, 1994

page 6


A Catholic hospital in Illinois is currently revising its protocol for treating rape victims, following a directive from Peoria Bishop John Myers banning the use of "morning after" pills.

Myers told the eight Catholic hospitals in his diocese that the two drugs, Estinyl and Ovral, could no longer be used because, he said, they have potential abortifacient capabilities.

St. Francis Medical Center, the second-largest medical facility in the state, is the only Catholic hospital in Peoria that uses the drugs. The fear is that the rape victim may have already been impregnated and that the drugs would not act as contraceptives but would terminate the life of a developing embryo.

St. Francis will continue to use these drugs until it can develop a new procedure, which is expected in the next couple of weeks, said Chris Lofgren, the hospital spokesman.

As the only Level 1 trauma center in the area, St. Francis treats a majority of the rape victims locally.

The hospitals were informed of the bishop's directive last November. St. Francis was given until last month to adopt a new policy - a deadline the hospital did not meet.

Lofgren said St. Francis is faced with the complex task of "trying to balance" what's in the best interests of patient care with what's being mandated by the bishop.

The bishop of each diocese has the final authority to set such policies, Lofgren said, adding that St. Francis hospital supports the Myers decision.

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