September 18, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Two new polls have revealed widespread discrimination against healthcare workers of faith, as well as broad public support for conscience rights laws and protections. The findings were released today by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committees on Pro-Life Activities; Religious Liberty; Domestic and Social Development; and the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, as well as the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), the largest faith-based association for healthcare professionals.
The findings come in the wake of enforcement actions taken by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) against the University of Vermont Medical Center, which is alleged to have coerced a nurse into participating in an abortion against her beliefs.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, of Kansas City in Kansas and Chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Bishop Robert J. McManus, of Worcester and Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty; Bishop Frank J. Dewane, of Venice, and Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop James D. Conley, of Lincoln and Chairman of the Subcommittee for Promotion and Defense of Marriage offered the following statement on the findings:
“An overwhelming majority of Americans agree: no healthcare professional should be forced to violate deeply-held beliefs in order to keep a job. The practice of medicine depends on those courageous and generous enough to serve all people—especially the poor and marginalized—with the highest ethical standards. If we exclude people of faith from the medical profession, Americans will suffer, especially those most in need.”
For more information, click here: http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/conscience-protection-teleconference.cfm
WASHINGTON—Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Chairman of the bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, have issued a statement commending today’s adoption of new regulations that ensure existing laws protecting conscience rights in healthcare are enforced and followed.
Their joint statement follows:
“We strongly commend the Department of Health and Human Services for adopting important new regulations to ensure that existing laws protecting the rights of conscience in health care are known, followed and enforced.
Though these laws were passed on a bipartisan basis and have been policy for years, the previous administration did not fully enforce them, and now they are increasingly being violated. Health care providers like New York nurse Cathy DeCarlo and medical trainees have been coerced into participating in the brutal act of abortion against their core beliefs, while churches and others who oppose abortion are being compelled by states like California to cover elective abortion—including late-term abortion—in their health plans. We are grateful that this Administration is taking seriously its duty to enforce these fundamental civil rights laws, and we look forward to swift action by HHS to remedy current violations in several states.
Conscience protection should not fluctuate as administrations change. It is essential that Congress provide permanent legislative relief through passage of the Conscience Protection Act in order to give victims of discrimination the ability to defend their rights in court. No one should be forced to violate their deeply held convictions about the sanctity of human life.”
Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and 32 other organizations have signed a joint letter of support for the Conscience Protection Act of 2017.
The bill, which has House and Senate versions, is intended to close loopholes that ignore the conscience rights of medical professionals on abortion, according to the signed letter.
“Even many ‘pro-choice’ Americans realize that the logic of their (opponents’) position requires them to respect a choice not to be involved in abortion,” said the letter, dated Sept. 6 and addressed to senators. . . [Full text]
WASHINGTON, D.C. Objectors to abortion need stronger conscience protections in federal law, the U.S. bishops have said in a letter supporting a bill being considered by Congress.
“While existing federal laws already protect conscientious objection to abortion in theory, this protection has not proved effective in practice,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said.
They said the proposed Conscience Protection Act of 2017 is essential to protect health care providers’ fundamental rights and ensure that they are not “forced by government to help destroy innocent unborn children.” . . . [Full text]
WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan and – as chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, respectively – wrote to the U.S. House of Representatives, March 31, urging support for the Conscience Protection Act of 2016 (HR 4828).
The Conscience Protection Act, they wrote, is “essential legislation protecting the fundamental rights of health care providers…to ensure that those providing much-needed health care and health coverage can continue to do so without being forced by government to help destroy innocent unborn children.”
HR 4828 has a “modest scope,” they noted. “While existing federal laws already protect conscientious objection to abortion in theory, this protection has not proved effective in practice… The Conscience Protection Act will address the deficiencies that block effective enforcement of existing laws, most notably by establishing a private right of action allowing victims of discrimination to defend their own rights in court.”
Cardinal Dolan and Archbishop Lori recalled the Hippocratic oath’s rejection of abortion in the profession of medicine, indicating that the Act will benefit not only Catholic medical professionals but “the great majority of ob/gyns [who] remain unwilling to perform abortions.”
Finally, they explained that conscience protection facilitates access to life-affirming health care: “When government…mandates involvement in abortion as a condition for being allowed to provide life-affirming health care services, it not only undermines the widely acknowledged civil rights of health care providers but also limits access to good health care for American women and men.”
The full text of their letter is posted at:
For more on the bishops’ promotion of conscience rights, including a recent video about a nurse who was coerced to take part in a late-term abortion, visit: