What kind of person lies about a "conscience issue"?

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez unleashes a vicious smear of Massachusetts Senate Candidate Martha Coakley, suggesting under the header "It's a Good Thing for Martha Coakley That There Are No Catholics in Massachusetts" that Coakley said Catholics shouldn't work in emergency rooms:

The radio host, Ken Pittman, pointed out that complex legal principle that "In the emergency room you still have your religious freedom."

Coakley agrees that "The law says that people are allowed to have that." But, making clear her view - the attorney general who wants to be the next senator from Massachusetts - she declared that "You can have religious freedom, but you probably shouldn't work in an emergency room." (Listen here.)

In fact, Coakley said that if you refuse to provide legal medical services to rape victims, you probably shouldn't work in an emergency room. Lopez cut off the quote before that was clear, suggesting instead that Coakley's position is simply that Catholics shouldn't work in emergency rooms.

There is a massive difference between what Coakley said and what Kathryn Jean Lopez claims Coakley said. Just enormous. Lopez suggests Coakley's position is "Catholics need not apply"; in fact, Coakley's position is more like "people who don't want to do the job shouldn't take it." It says something about Lopez' confidence in the merits of her own position that she feels the need to dishonestly portray Coakley's.

This isn't Lopez's first fast-and-loose description of the issue this week. Here's something she wrote on Wednesday:

What Coakley and her campaign are referencing is a 2005 bill that mandated that hospitals provide emergency contraception to victims of rape. At the time, Scott Brown sponsored an amendment that sought to protect the consciences of hospitals and hospital personnel with religious objections to the medication, which sometimes works as an abortifacient.

As the Boston Globe explained last week, the amendment would have referred rape victims at a hospital that would not dispense emergency contraception to another hospital that would, at no additional cost. In an urban center like Boston, this is not akin to making emergency contraception unavailable to these women.

Set aside the callousness of Lopez' suggestion (reminiscent of Sen. Joe Lieberman's famous "short ride" comment) that it's ok to turn a rape victim away from an emergency room because there's another nearby. What's really striking about Lopez' description is what she leaves out: Not all of Massachusetts is "an urban center like Boston." For many people, there isn't another emergency room nearby. Again: it says something about Lopez' confidence in the merits of her position that she feels the need to mislead readers about its consequences.

Posted In
Health Care, Reproductive Rights
National Review
Kathryn Jean Lopez
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