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Rape victim denied morning after pill by PA hospital

Published: Wednesday July 26, 2006

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"A Good Samaritan Hospital emergency room doctor refused to give a rape victim a morning-after pill because he said it was against his Mennonite religion," the (registration-restricted) reported late Tuesday. Excerpts:


Rebuffed by the doctor, the woman called her gynecologist, who wrote the prescription. Her local pharmacy told her it was out of the drug and referred her to a sister store in Reading.

The former medical director of the hospital said he sees nothing strange about asking a woman from eastern Lebanon County to drive to Reading for a drug.

"People drive to Reading to buy jeans. Even if that were the case, that you had to drive to Reading to get this [prescription], to me that does not rise to a compulsion that you have to pass laws that [doctors] have to do something," Dr. Joe Kearns said.

The state backs his refusal, PENNLIVE reports.

Hospitals are not required to prescribe emergency contraception pills, and the state does not keep statistics on how many do, said Richard McGarvey, spokesman for the state Health Department. Kearns said a doctor has rights, too.

"The question is, if you are a physician, do you have to provide services to patients that you think are heinous? And the answer is in this country [is] no, you don't," Kearns said.