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Conscience clause under attack
Earlier this month, President Bush signed into law the Hyde-Weldon provision, which prohibits agencies that receive federal dollars from discriminating against medical personnel or agencies that don’t want to be involved in abortions.
The National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA) and California Attorney General Bill Lockyer filed lawsuits seeking to overturn the measure.
“This lawsuit is the height of hypocrisy: A `pro-choice’ group is suing so that health care providers will have no choice but to participate in abortion,” stated Cathy Cleaver Ruse of the National Conference of Catholic bishops.
Citing numerous cases in which medical professionals were punished or lost their jobs because of acting on their pro-life beliefs, the American Center for Law and Justice announced that it has filed a brief on behalf of members of Congress, defending the Hyde-Weldon provision. ( LifeNews.com12/23/04).
Previous discussions focused on the rights of physicians and medical students. More recent analysis has expanded to include nurses, pharmacists, and private hospitals. The brief argues that Congress has the constitutional power to refuse funding to grantees who discriminate against persons of conscience.
The End of Life, Collectivist Morality, and W.C.A. Hospital Ethics, AAPS News, January 1999.
Rights to follow conscience limited in U.N. International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights: “Is There a Right to Health Care?” by Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D., Medical Sentinel, July/August1999.