Bishop Fisher calls morning after pill a "cop out"

( [email protected] ) Nov 17, 2003 10:39 AM EST

A decision to allow a so-called "morning after" pill to be dispensed by pharmacists without a doctor’s prescription is a "cop out", according to Sydney auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher.

Bishop Fisher told the Catholic Weekly that proper sex education, not emergency contraception, should be made more widely available.

Bishop Fisher made his comment after the National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee announced its decision to make the "morning after" pill, Prostinor-2, available in pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription from January.

"The one thing that strikes me is that we will be pushing women on to high dose drugs when they are not actually fertile most of the time, and so there is often no therapeutic benefit of any kind," he said.

"I believe it is a ‘cop out’.

"Instead of engaging in genuine sex education that gives people a proper sense of their own self-esteem, their sexuality and how their bodies work, as well as the benefits of waiting, we are taking an easy way out to deal with the problem of unwanted pregnancies.

Meanwhile the Melbourne-based Australian AIDS Fund has criticised Bishop Fisher for speaking on the scientific effectiveness of condoms when he admits he is not qualified to do so.

Bishop Fisher repeated Cardinal Alfonso Trujillo's contentious argument that microscopic holes in condoms let the AIDS virus pass through, on ABC Radio's Religion Report on Wednesday. Bishop Fisher was commenting on the BBC Sex and the Holy City documentary in which Cardinal Trujillo made his assessment as President of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

"For the cardinal to then assert that because condoms have holes that, therefore, ipso facto, the HIV virus will escape is indefensible," said the Fund's Brian Haille. "Bishop Fisher needs to admit and correct a cardinal error."

For some years, the Australian AIDS Fund has conducted programs in conjunction with the Archdiocese of Melbourne.