Catholic-run hospitals can prescribe limited emergency contraception to rape victims, German bishops said yesterday as they sought to contain fallout from an embarrassing recent case in which two hospitals refused to treat a woman.
In a statement issued at the end of a regular meeting in the western city of Trier, the German Bishops' Conference said Catholic hospitals still can't provide drugs that would lead to the death of an embryo.
The German church was under pressure to clarify its stance after two Catholic hospitals in Cologne turned away a rape victim because of concerns over the pill. Cologne's archbishop, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, said last month that the church was "deeply ashamed by this incident because it goes against our Christian mission."
At the end of January, Cardinal Meisner said it was "justifiable" in such cases to provide drugs that prevent conception. He later said he had consulted with Pope Benedict XVI's secretary, Georg Gaenswein, and was told that "everything is alright."