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Where Is the Empathy for Rape Victims, Cardinal George?

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Dear Cardinal George. One question.

Where is the empathy for rape victims?

The Catholic Conference of Illinois has taken issue with Governor Quinn attending Personal PAC's November 17th Annual Luncheon for the purpose of saying a few kind words about Jennie Goodman, a woman who survived being raped and is now showing tremendous courage by speaking out publicly on behalf of all rape victims and their families. In its public statement released to the news media on Thursday, November 3, 2011 the Catholic Conference states, "Our hearts go out to any victim of rape, one of the most personally violent crimes against women," acknowledging Jennie Goodman as a rape victim in that statement. Then, on Sunday November 7, 2011, you claim not to have been informed that Jennie was a rape victim. I find this statement and the history of the Catholic Conference working forcefully against the rights of rape victims to be curious at best in light of the facts.

Several years ago, the Illinois General Assembly was working on a law requiring hospitals to offer information about emergency contraception to rape victims who were brought to emergency rooms, often accompanied by police officers who responded to the crime, following a sexual assault. Emergency contraception is a double dose of the birth control pill taken immediately after an assault that would prevent a rape victim from getting pregnant by the man who raped her. The Catholic Conference of Illinois worked overtime pressuring legislators and preaching from the pulpit against this bill in order to ensure that it did not become law in Illinois. Despite the Catholic Conference's all-out effort to defeat this legislation, it was eventually approved. To say that your heart goes out to a rape victim and then attempt to deny her information about avoiding getting pregnant by the man who raped her seems rather cruel and heartless to me. Just where is the empathy for rape victims, Cardinal George?

Terry Cosgrove

President & CEO
Personal PAC
Chicago, IL