Skip to comments.Health care workers urge Obama not to rescind conscience rights
Posted on 04/08/2009 1:56:05 PM PDT by NYer
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Dr. John T. Bruchalski would rather close the doors of his highly successful Fairfax, Va., medical practice than violate his conscience if he is forced to offer services that violate the basic tenets of his Catholic faith.
A pro-life obstetrician and gynecologist whose Tepeyac Family Center delivered 629 babies in 2008, Bruchalski is concerned that a Department of Health and Human Services proposal to rescind a conscience protection regulation for health care workers would force him to perform abortions or, at the very least, refer patients to physicians who offer the procedure.
Bruchalski told Catholic News Service he wants no part of that.
The rule, which took effect two days before President Barack Obama took office, codifies three longtime federal statutes prohibiting discrimination against health professionals who decline to participate in abortions or other medical procedures because of their religious or moral objections.
"From our perspective the heart of social justice is the Gospel of life," Bruchalski said in an interview following an April 8 press conference hosted by Freedom2Care at the National Press Club.
"At the heart of freedom is the right of conscience, a properly formed conscience. If conscience becomes truncated or coerced or undercut, then every other right that we have as citizens becomes hollow," he continued.
"We have to be obedient to our conscience, which is telling me to love God and love my neighbor. As Peter said, where else can I go?" he said. "I must be an active, alive Catholic physician and that will help health care and the nation at large, because I bring a perspective that ought to be heard. If they silence that, they're silencing Catholics from being physicians."
Bruchalski was not alone in his sentiments. He joined 40 other doctors, anesthesiologists, physician assistants, pharmacists and nurses -- all donned in white coats or operating-room scrubs -- who packed the press conference to address their concerns a day before a monthlong public comment period on the HHS plan ends.
Freedom2Care, a coalition of 36 secular and medical organizations dedicated to protecting conscience rights, and the Susan B. Anthony List, which promotes and represents pro-life women in politics, are spearheading a campaign that has led to 36,000 comments being filed against the proposal.
A similar effort by the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment, an arm of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has filed another 35,000 comments, according to Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for policy and communications in the bishops' Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities.
Dr. David Stevens, CEO of the Christian Medical Association, told reporters that the group had sent Obama a letter detailing its concerns about the proposal as the press conference started. The letter said thousands of health care professionals "would be put at a crossroads in their careers" should the conscience rule be rescinded.
Among the 37 signers of the letter were Dr. Louis C. Breschi, president of the Catholic Medical Association; Brian Burch, executive director of CatholicVote.org; Terese S. Collet, professor of law and director of the University of St. Thomas School of Law Prolife Center; and Austin Ruse, president of C-Fam, a Catholic family and human rights organization.
The rights of conscience are guaranteed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and rescinding those rights would send the country down a perilous road, Stevens said.
"When the state demands we surrender our conscience, it becomes totalitarian and dangerous," he said. "As Hippocrates knew and some have forgotten, the moral integrity of health care professionals is the patient's best protection, especially in a health care system increasingly driven by cost."
Stevens also raised concern that a concerted effort by some organizations "to cleanse health care" of people who want to maintain conscience rights would force hospitals to close and push hundreds of thousands of doctors, nurses and pharmacists out of work.
Already, he said, many health care professionals are discriminated against for their desire not to participate in procedures they find objectionable.
"This issue isn't just about abortion," he said. "Right of conscience will become increasingly important with other health care issues looming ahead: euthanasia, genetic engineering, human cloning and more."
Freedom2Care also released the results of a poll that showed 87 percent of U.S. adults surveyed believe it is important to ensure that health care professionals are not forced to participate in procedures to which they morally object. By 57 percent to 38 percent, adults oppose regulations that require medical professionals to perform or provide services to which they morally object.
Respondents also said they supported a conscience regulation, 63 percent to 28 percent.
The poll of 800 adults was conducted by The Polling Co. for the Christian Medical Association.
The man does not listen. The man is unwilling to compromise.
so you can join the military and be a conscientous objector, but NOT object to performing abortions as a doc?
that makes no sense.
Have we descended into monarchy?
How silly of these people. They assumed that Democrats actually have a conscience. Nothing could be further from the truth. Democrats believe ethical and moral principles are silly. They believe the ends justify the means.
0bama couldn’t give a rat sass about such a petition.
"The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him."
The man does not listen. The man is unwilling to compromise.
God doesn’t compromise either. He will have hell to pay if he doesn’t change his values. I know they don’t believe in a God of Judgement or hell but that’s the decision he made. He is NOT the Messiah! He’s a twisted little man who dances to the tune of the leftists - nothing else. He wasn’t even a good Senator!
Some nurses in hospitals are refusing to (a) bare their arms as required by the health regulations (b) disinfect their hands as they move between patients - both because they offend their Muslim beliefs.
Islam demands that females must cover themselves in public, and that includes the arm - so they cannot be uncovered. Also since the personal disinfectants provided outside most hospital wards contain alcohol which is banned by Islam, it cannot be used.
So you do not practice the necessary hygiene and you cannot be fired because it would be discrimination.
Result: religion and political correctness satisfied and patients die unnecessarily from preventable contagion.
Coming soon to a health facility near you.
This is a grave tragedy in the making.
Liberals are all about “choice” UNTIL you choose differently than them.
He’ll give a moose’s a$$ in 2010 when the Congress turns GOP.
Since you mentioned this on a different thread, thought I would ping you to this one.
Interesting! What is the source of the Nuremburg Principle?
He is the antichrist.
This used to be required learning for soldiers in my era.
Don’t they know that they are messing with his favorite charity, The murder if the little babies?
For those of you who do not want to waste time with division, but, rather would prefer to object to the overturning of this regulation, please go to http://www.freedom2care.org/ to make your comment known to the new “Health and Human Services” of this Administration.
For those who don’t yet understand the problem:
Is it really that difficult to believe that there is an obvious difference between routine hygiene and elective abortion or the commission of euthanasia?
At the least, there are many ethical ways to do the first, and no ethical way to do the latter.
Nurses and nursing students can avoid spreading germs other ways than by alcohol or baring their arms. Soap, water, gloves, and long sleeved over-gowns - or simply the long sleeves themselves.
You miss my point. Conscience is in the mind of the ‘practicer’, not in the eye of the beholder.
Where ever conscience may reside, legislation that would force action against conscience is in the public square, supposedly under our power. The right of conscience, the right to free exercise of religion, is one of those “inalienable” rights.
Inalienable rights are held by the individual and are actually negative rights. Not to be killed, not to be enslaved, not to have one’s possibilities limited by arbitrary custom or law.
My right to conscience is the right not to be forced to act against my conscience, not the right to act as I see fit. I can’t give medicine that is not in the patient’s best interest, but I can refuse to act, to withdraw or withhold my labor, signature or voice.
The fact is that the controversial acts *are* controversial, and not associated with acts of healing or improving health.