Tuesday 5 February 2013

When a story's not so much of a story but a more interesting story

Irish papers and media are all over the story of a German cardinal sanctioning the use of the so-called "morning after pill" for rape victims.  They see it as a chink in the armour and of course have no understanding of any of the issues in any meaningful way.

Let's be clear, if a woman has been raped it is entirely legitimate that she take steps to prevent conception occuring.  What Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne is saying is that he has been advised that there are certain pills which prevent conception but do not interfere with implantation of an already fertilized egg.  If that is the case then there is no moral difficulty in using them in the case of rape.

Of course the central issue is the words "if that is the case".  When in doubt we get into a more complex area of moral theology. 

There are some who will maintain that if there is any doubt at all as to the possibility of a pill preventing implantation of an already fertilized egg, then it is morally illicit.  Such a view would seem to be a form of tutiorism or rigorism.

The priniciples of probabalism would seem to apply in this case so I think we should give the Cardinal and his episcopal colleagues some space to present their case.  Catholic encyclopedia article here.

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