Right of Conscience Affirmed

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Conscience Regulations: A Christmas Gift We’ll Have to Fight to Keep

It is obvious that no one should be forced to have an abortion, but just as clear is that no one in the medical profession should be forced to perform an abortion in violation of their conscience.

The Bush administration on Thursday issued a rule that expands protections for health care workers who elect not to offer or participate in certain procedures, such as abortion, because of moral objections, the AP/Denver Post reports (Freking, AP/Denver Post, 12/18). Under the new “right of conscience” rule, any worker with a “reasonable” connection to the delivery of health care — including employees who clean equipment — can refuse to take part in services such as abortion, dispensing birth control drugs and other forms of contraception, or offering advice about such services.

These regulations will enforce three statutes-the Church, Coats, and Weldon Amendments that are already on the books that protect health care providers’ right of conscience. They will ensure that, instead of being overlooked, these conscience protection statues will be strongly enforced by the government in the same manner as our other civil rights laws.

HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said, “Doctors and other health care providers should not be forced to choose between good professional standing and violating their conscience” (Rosetta/May, Salt Lake Tribune, 12/18).

In our country and across the world, incidents of  religious oppression have continued to be an issue in the health care industry as the freedom to obtain controversial medical procedures has often superseded religious views of doctors and medical staff whose personal beliefs preclude them from participating in such procedures.   Our health care providers have a right to practice good medicine according to their conscience.

Thank you to the Bush administration and Mike Leavitt for taking a stand and providing verification of the right to conscientiously refrain from objectionable mandates.

This gift does not come without a price.  Already the negative rhetoric and opposition to the rule is mounting.  Planned Parenthood calls the move “an attack on women” and mere “political games.”  Speculation as to how long it will remain in force once President Elect Obama takes office is yet to be seen.   Religious freedom is never just political games.  It’s a freedom worth the fight.

—Beetle Blogger

It’s not right to force others to act in a way that is contrary to their beliefs, yet in many countries, including ours, this has happened and continues to happen.   This worldwide list of incidents of conscientious repression was compiled by  Consciencelaws.org

Repression List

State of Victoria, Australia demands referral, performance of abortions
Melbourne, Australia (August, 2008)

Oxford Division Motion for British Medical Association
United Kingdom (July, 2008)

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists continues attack on freedom of conscience
USA (November, 2007)

Assisted suicide bills require objectors to facilitate assisted suicide
Wisconsin, USA (April, 2007)

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Demands Compulsory Referral
USA (August, 2005)

Philippines Government launches attack on freedom of conscience
Philippines, (April, 2005)

Draft Code of Ethics for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians – Ontario College of Pharmacists
Ontario, Canada (March-September, 2005)

Missouri Senate Bill 458 Threatens Pharmacists
Missouri, USA (February, 2005)

New Jersey Senators Attack Freedom of Conscience for Pharmacists
New Jersey, USA (January, 2005)

‘Pro-choice’ groups attack freedom to choose
NARAL, NOW and Planned Parenthood: USA (November, 2004)

Attack on freedom of conscience in US House of Representatives
Congressional Record: November 20, 2004 (House)

South African nurse denied position
Vereeniging (Gauteng Dept. of Health: Kopanong Hospital) South Africa (2004)

Medical Student Failed
University of Manitoba, 2003-2004

Ambulance Attendant Fired
Elmhurst, Illinois, USA 2004

Police Used to Intimidate Objecting Pharmacist
Menomonie, Wisconsin, USA 2002

Alberta Pharmacist Vindicated for Pro-Life Stand
Alberta, Canada (November, 2003)

Testimony of Beth LaChance, RN Re: Wisconsin Assembly Bill 67
Wisconsin, U.S.A. (October, 2003)

Testimony of Pharmacist Grosskreuz Re: Wisconsin Assembly Bill 63
Wisconsin, USA (March, 2003)

Testimony of Pharmacist Klubertanz Re: Wisconsin Senate Bill 21
Wisconsin, USA (March, 2003)

The Campaign to Force Hospitals to Provide Abortion
United States (2002-2003)

Pharmacy colleges quash conscientious objection
Canada (October, 2002)

Traumatised Health Care Professionals Forced to Take Part in Abortion Procedures
South Africa (June, 2002)

Doctor’s faith under scrutiny: Barrie physician won’t offer the pill, could lose his licence
Barrie, Ontario, Canada (February, 2002)

Oregon Health Department Nurse Loses Job to Pro-Life Beliefs
Salem, Oregon, USA (January, 2002)

Question of Conscience
United Kingdom (1973-2001)

Testimony from the Gynaecological-Obstetrical Frontline
Europe (1968-2001)

Do it anyway: Canadian workers are being compelled to violate their own beliefs
Canada (2001)

More DC Medics Say They Were Forced to Have Abortions
Washington, D.C. (2001)

Testimony of Wang Guoql
United States House of Representatives  (2001)

Christian Doctor Denied Employment
Glasgow, Scotland (October, 2000)

Access to Appointments: The Effect of Discrimination on Careers
Glasgow, Scotland (October, 2000)

Objectors to be Denied Diplomas
United Kingdom (October, 1999)

Foothills Hospital Now Forces Nurses To Participate In Genetic Terminations
Calgary, Alberta, Canada (1999)

Nurses At Foothills Hospital Rebel Over The Horrifying Results Of Late-Term ‘Genetic Terminations’
Calgary, Alberta, Canada (1999)

“Can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen”:
Law professor tells senators how he deals with conscientious objectors

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (1995-2000)

Student pressured to participate in abortion
Saskatchewan, Canada (1999)

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