Fox Nation and Gateway Pundit blogger Jim Hoft have seized on comments made by Democratic Massachusetts Senate candidate Martha Coakley during a January 14 radio interview to falsely claim that Coakley said "devout Catholics" should not "work in emergency rooms." In fact, as the context of Coakley's remarks makes clear, she was discussing individuals who would refuse to provide certain emergency medical procedures and treatments -- including emergency contraception -- to patients on the grounds of their religious beliefs, not all "devout Catholics."
Fox Nation, Hoft falsely declared Coakley said Catholics "shouldn't work in the emergency room"
Gateway Pundit, Big Government posts: "Martha Coakley: Devout Catholics 'Probably Shouldn't Work in the Emergency Room.' " In a January 14 Gateway Pundit blog post, Hoft reported that "Democrat Martha Coakley was on with Ken Pittman from WBSM in Massachusetts today. Martha told Ken that if you object to abortion and are a devout Catholic then...You probably shouldn't work in the emergency room." Hoft declared these remarks to be a "game-changer" in the Massachusetts Senate race. Hoft reposted this blog post on BigGovernment.com.
Fox Nation: "Coakley: Catholics Shouldn't Work in the ER." On January 15, Fox Nation linked to Hoft's Gateway Pundit post. From Fox Nation:
In fact, Coakley discussed those who would refuse to provide medical treatment -- including emergency contraception -- on religious grounds
Coakley referred to those who would "deny emergency contraception to a woman who came in who had been raped." In the interview, WBSM's Ken Pittman asked Coakley, who reportedly is Catholic, if she would "pass a health care bill that had conscientious objecter toward certain procedures, including abortion." Coakley stated that she didn't "believe that would be included in the health care bill," and that she would oppose legislation that "say[s] that if people believed that they don't want to provide services that are required under the law and under Roe vs. Wade that they can individually decide to not follow the law." Referencing her Republican opponent, Coakley added: "And let's be clear, because Scott Brown filed an amendment to a bill in Massachusetts that would say that hospital and emergency room personnel could deny emergency contraception to a woman who came in who had been raped." Coakley's statement prompted the following exchange with Pittman:
PITTMAN: Right, if you are a Catholic, and you believe what the Pope teaches, you know, that any form of birth control is a sin. And you don't want to do that, that --
COAKLEY: No, but we have a seperation of church and state here, Ken, let's be clear.
PITTMAN: Yeah, but in the emergency room you still have your religious freedom.
COAKLEY: The law says that people are allowed to have that. And so, then, if you -- you can have religious freedom, you probably shouldn't work in the emergency room.
PITTMAN: Wow. OK, so if you have religious conviction, stay out of the emergency room.
COAKLEY: Well, no, I'm not -- look, you're -- you're the one who brought the question up. I don't believe that the law allows for that, and I know that we accommodate all kinds of differences all the time. I think Roe vs. Wade has made it clear that women have a right to choose, and in Massachusetts, particularly if someone has been the victim of a rape, an assault, and she goes to an emergency room to get contraception, someone else should say, "Oh, no, I don't believe in this, so I'm going to affect your constitutional rights?"
PITTMAN: I agree that you've gotta have some balance there.
Hoft did not include transcript for the portions of the exchange in which Coakley made clear she was discussing those who would deny certain treatments -- including emergency contraception -- to patients because of their religious beliefs.