President Obama is moving toward rescinding the ability to enforce our nation’s conscience laws. These laws provide legal protections against discrimination and intimidation for those in the health care industry who refuse to participate in procedures or activities that go against their moral belief. These laws include:
- the 1973 “Church Amendments” which protect doctors and other healthcare professionals from discrimination due to religious belief or moral conviction;
- the 1996 “Public Health Service Act Amendment” which prohibits government from discriminating against individual and institutional healthcare providers who choose not to provide abortion services or receive abortion training; and
- the 2004 “Hyde-Weldon Amendment” which prohibits certain federal funds going to federal and state agencies and programs that discriminate against healthcare providers who decline to offer or refer abortion services.
Taking the enforcement of these legal protections away leaves citizens vulnerable. The protective laws are still on the books, but not enforced— if they’re not enforced, what good are they?
In an article at NewsMax, Newt Gingrich wrote a detailed piece about the current threats to freedom of conscience in the United States. He says of Obama’s actions this week:
“Without enforcement, healthcare personnel will have scant legal recourse for intimidation and bigotry rendering the laws intended to protect them meaningless.”
He goes on to name the consistently aggressive efforts being made nationally since Obama came to power, which demonstrate intolerance for not only policies, but people who support a culture of life:
- In the first month of his presidency, Obama reversed the established Mexico City policy that kept taxpayer money from being used by international organizations for abortions as a method of family planning protecting millions of American from paying for a procedure that they find morally objectionable.
- Last week, the President unilaterally lifted embryonic-stem-cell research restrictions.
- In the President’s recent healthcare summit, groups that support abortion were invited but pro-life groups with a stake in healthcare were excluded.
- With the President’s support, Congress recently approved $50 million in funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). UNFPA is complicit in China’s unspeakably cruel one-child enforcement policy, which employs forced abortion and sterilization.
- In February, the Administration decided that it would no longer extend hiring protections to faith-based organizations but would instead review on a “case-by-case basis.
These moves are being made unilaterally, often without considering the voice of the people or even our representatives in the congress. Where is the freedom guaranteed by the constitution? Who gave the president a mandate to “change” the founding principles of this nation?
Newt goes on to say:
“Yet, the most hostile assault against the civil liberties in the medical profession may be yet to come.
In 2007, Obama promised a Planned Parenthood gathering on the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade that, as president, he would sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA).
If enacted, FOCA would repeal all federal and state restrictions on abortion including the ban on partial-birth abortion. FOCA would force all public hospitals and health programs offering maternity services to provide abortions. Moreover, provisions in state constitutions that protect speech and the free exercise of religion of those whose conscience is opposed to abortion could be invalidated. Having no reason to believe that President Obama will not fulfill this radical campaign pledge, some Catholic bishops are talking openly about engaging in civil disobedience to protect Catholic hospitals and their doctors from being forced to perform abortions.
The chilling effect of the Obama administration forcing doctors and nurses to choose between their losing their careers and being compelled to participate in abortions against their moral and religious belief is incalculable. Not only will pro-life doctors and nurses be driven from the professions, but patients will lose the ability to choose doctors who reflect their own religious and moral convictions, doctors who now help them to make healthcare choices based upon them. The fact is, there are doctors and nurses who have no moral objection to abortion. Why then, should some medical professionals be compelled to do something that compromises their conscience? It is one thing to hold fast to the pro-abortion position as a matter of a personal opinion, it is quite another to force someone else to compromise their moral integrity. ” (entire article here: NewsMax)
People have the freedom and the right to choose how they will believe, and how they will act. Are we so secularized as a nation that we cannot make room for those of religious belief to practice as they choose?
We should be free to be a doctor or nurse without being forced to check morality at the door. No one should be forced to take life against their will. This is after all, America—land of the free! Not slave to the secular.