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News Releases: 2004

CCF Responds to California Attorney General Bill Lockyer's Pro-Abortion Attack on Conscience
Thomasson: "What ever happened to a person's 'right to choose' to have a conscience?"

Campaign for Children and Families

Sacramento, California, USA
December 8, 2004

Christian Wire Service/ -- In response to California Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announcing he will sue to block the Hyde-Weldon conscience amendment in the recently-passed federal spending bill which prohibits government entities from punishing doctors who won't do abortions, Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, a leading West Coast pro-family organization, issued the following statement:

"Imagine you're a baby doctor.  You've said the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm, and now Bill Lockyer is forcing you to participate in killing an unborn child in a bloody abortion procedure.  What ever happened to a person's 'right to choose' to have a conscience?

"Instead of behaving like a lawyer for the wealthy abortion groups, Lockyer should immediately draft legislation to conform California to the new federal law.  California doesn't have to lose any federal funds.  Abortions would still occur in California, but the state would cease and desist from forcing doctors and nurses to horribly kill unborn children against their own conscience."

Contact: Cindy Avakian, Media Booking, 530-405-4095 x2 PST, media@go56.com

Campaign for Children and Families (CCF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization representing children and families in California and America.

Economics Outweighs Ethical Principles in the Pharmacy Profession

BC Pharmacists for Conscience

British Columbia, Canada
October 18, 2004

On October 15th, the Vancouver Sun reported that the BC Pharmacy Association, with the support of the BC First Nations Summit and the federal Conservative party, is warning that some pharmacists in remote areas are planning to withdraw from the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program.  This means that pharmacists in BC will be allowed to opt out of having to provide services to First Nations people for purely economic reasons.

The Prince Rupert Daily News (Fri Oct 8/04 issue) reported that the First Nations Summit has promised to find pharmacists who will service First Nation people for the new reduced fee if their regular pharmacist will not.  In remote and isolated communities, FNIHB has promised to courier prescriptions from other areas if local pharmacists withdraw services, reports Leanne Ritchie.

Cristina Alarcon  represents BC Pharmacists for Conscience, a group of professionals who have petitioned the College of Pharmacists of BC for 4 years in a row to allow them to practice according to conscience, and not via strictly imposed College policy.  She is surprised by the overwhelming support being given to pharmacists who threaten to withhold services for economic reasons, and the lack of support experienced by those who would withhold services because their own research shows that some products on their shelves are unsafe or have little data derived from proper clinical trials to prove long-term safety.

Alarcon says, " It is very disheartening to see that the BC Pharmacy Association, who is supposed to look after the rights of pharmacists, is not at all willing to support pharmacists who may find it necessary to withhold services for ethical or moral reasons, and yet are willing to support those pharmacists who would withhold those very same services because they do not feel they are adequately remunerated."

According to Alarcon, pharmacists need to take greater moral and ethical responsibility for their actions.  " In view of the recent Vioxx scandal, it is no longer ethically acceptable to sit on the fence and wait to be told what to do by the establishment.  As the drug experts we are called to be, we must take the time to read up on original studies and reports and not just go by what the Pharmaceutical Drug Reps feed us, because after all, they are only trying to sell us their products.

For more information, contact Cristina Alarcon at 604-222-8317 in the evenings (after 8:00pm) or email cristinaalarcon365@hotmail.com

Government still in hot pursuit of their conscience-crushing abortion campaign

Doctors for Life, South Africa

Embargo: Immediate release
Date: 2004-10-15                       

Health Committees of Provincial Parliaments have been discussing the Abortion Amendment Bill this past week, but the public have been refused the opportunity to make submissions.

The Government is proceeding with the liberalisation of the abortion law (final debate on the Amendment Bill scheduled for November 4th in the National Assembly) in a manner which can only lead to the conclusion that they are still in hot pursuit of their campaign to put increasing pressure on pro-life health professionals to do their abortions for them. The nurses union, DENOSA, have repeatedly said that two-thirds of their members are against abortion, and it is clear that government strategy is to bulldoze the Amendment Act through against the will of the majority of South Africans as they did in 1996, and without a clause that ensures conscientious objectors are exempt from participating.

Doctors For Life International(DFL) questions the legality of the process going on in the Provinces this past week where the public and interested bodies like DFL are denied the right to make submissions on the Bill; this applies to other Bills also, such as the Traditional Healers Bill. Furthermore, certainly in the case of KZN, members of Parliament were only given a few days notice of their Health Committee briefings.

The purpose of the new Bill is to make abortions more accessible but no attempt whatsoever has been made to rectify the appalling deficiencies of the present legislation where the mandatory provisions as to counselling and obtaining the patient's informed consent are often flagrantly ignored. It was well known at the time of the initiation of these new amendments, that the purpose was to make more doctors and nurses willing to take part in abortions. For that purpose, some pro-abortion lobbies actually initiated and financed the process by requesting the hearings. In spite of the fact that its purpose is to increase the demand for abortions, nothing has been done to ensure personnel will be available to carry out the task. Hence the pressure on health professionals to take part, regardless of their consciences.

DFL fears that the State will lose many of its most trusted and conscientious health workers if this pressure continues without a clear and unequivocal 'conscience clause' being added to the Bill as exists in other jurisdictions, such as the UK. Conscience has been called the most sacred of all property, and it is especially vital to sustain reliable and trustworthy health professionals.

DFL would like to respectfully warn the government that failure to add such a clause may lead to lawsuits in the future. History shows that unpopular legislation inevitably backfires; first in the court of public opinion, and then in the law courts. The irony of trampling on individual liberties and constitutional rights under the banner of 'choice' will not be lost on our citizens.

For more information, contact Heinrich Botes (072 219 1962) or John Smyth QC, legal spokesperson (083 653 8804).

Doctors For Life International represent more than 1000 medical doctors and specialists; three-quarters of whom practice in South Africa. Doctors For Life was founded as a South African organisation in 1991 and has spread across the globe. DFL is involved in several community projects including orphan care, the care of terminal AIDS patients, malaria prevention and the care of abused women.

Planned Parenthood and "Anti-Choice" Rhetoric

Protection of Conscience Project

30 August, 2004
For Immediate Release

Planned Parenthood Alberta is recycling the accusation that physicians who object to abortion may "scare" patients with "misinformation" or "impose their moral beliefs." This smear may be unfairly applied to conscientious objectors who follow the guidelines of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA).

The CMA advises physicians to inform a patient when their personal morality would influence their recommendations or practice, and to advise patients of their objections to abortion. The CPSA expects physicians to provide information to patients seeking abortion so that they can "make informed decisions on all available options for their pregnancies, including termination."

On the other hand, objecting physicians can hardly be expected to present morally controversial procedures as morally uncontroversial, or in such a way as to indicate that they approve of them or are indifferent to them. Moreover, the information they reasonably believe necessary to permit the patient to make a truly "informed decision" may be more comprehensive or in other respects different from what Planned Parenthood is accustomed to provide its clients.

An interest group like Planned Parenthood might well stigmatize such discussion as 'moralizing' and providing 'misinformation'. Partisan polemics of this sort do not provide a basis for sound policy making.

Planned Parenthood Alberta is compiling a list of what it calls "anti-choice doctors." If it is desirable to help patients find physicians who share their outlook on moral issues, it would be preferable for doctors to identify themselves, perhaps through the College of Physicians and Surgeons or professional associations.

But if Planned Parenthood persists in its plan to identify "anti-choice doctors", it should include in its list the names of physicians who believe that their colleagues should be forced to provide or facilitate morally controversial procedures.

Catholic Bishops Call to Action on Abortion

Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference

Mariannhill, Durban
Immediate Release
11 August 2004

"The Catholic Church calls on all catholic medical personnel to insist on their constitutional rights, respecting their freedom of conscience and to refuse to cooperate in the performance of abortions", said the Bishops in their statement at the end of their assembly in Mariannhill today.

The right to life is the most fundamental of all human rights on which society is based. Abortion as a direct attack on this most basic right can never be justified even by the intention of protecting or promoting any other right or value.  

The current parliamentary debate on Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill challenges us once more to uphold the sanctity of human life from conception until death, and to condemn abortion as an act gravely contrary to the law of God.

We are furthermore deeply disturbed by the proposal that the new amendment bill seeks to extend to nurses the right to destroy innocent life through even more freely available abortions. We note with great sadness that 330 000 innocent human lives have been destroyed since the Abortion Act came into operation in 1997. There is no doubt that the aim of the proposed amendment is to increase the number of abortions in our country and as a Church we deplore this onslaught on the lives of the unborn.

We are deeply aware of the great damage caused to women by abortion since they had already bonded as mothers with their unborn babies. The Church wishes to help them in coping with their loss and grief.

The Church will continue to use its own resources to counsel, to protect and to care for unmarried mothers and other women in pregnancy crisis and situations of abuse.

"How can the country possibly regenerate its moral fibre if it continues to widen and facilitate the destruction of unborn life?", ask the Catholic Bishops.

Contact:
Father Mathibela Sebothoma
Media & Communications Officer
Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC)
PO Box 941
Pretoria 0001
Phone: 012 323 6458
Fax: 012 326 6218
Cell: 082 229 4614
 
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health
Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill 2003

Doctors for Life International

Immediate Release
Date: 2004-08-03

Doctors for Life, represented by Dr Takalani Dube and John Smyth, QC, today made oral submissions to the Committee in Parliament at Cape Town. 

DFL asked the Members of Parliament to put the Amendment Bill on hold for the following reasons:

1.       Because almost all abortions are now done by means of Misoprostil tablets, rather than any surgical procedure, the existing law has fallen into disrepute. No regard whatever is paid to the mandatory requirement of ensuring the mother has given 'informed consent.' Very often the midwife does not consult with a medical practitioner when the gestation period is over 12 weeks as required by the Act.

2.       The Committee was presented with powerful evidence from women who have undergone abortions and subsequently bitterly regretted it because they were given no information about the unborn child in their wombs, what was involved in the procedure or what the psychological after-effects would be. DFL will very shortly institute a High Court action against a clinic which aborted an unborn child from a schoolgirl without giving her any information whatever as to what was involved and behind her parents' backs.

3.       The provisions in the new Bill to designate facilities 'automatically' will be a recipe for disaster that is bound to increase pressure on all hospital staff, particularly those who have conscientious objections to abortion. Doctors and nurses from rural clinics will initiate abortions on the assumption that facilities do qualify when often they will not because adequate staff who are willing to do abortions will not be available and therefore the facility will not be 'accessible' under the new Act. The pressure on all staff will become intolerable. DFL presented to the Committee the Minutes of a Theatre Staff meeting at a Gauteng hospital where the staff (both pro-life and pro-choice) were at loggerheads. Copies may be obtained from DFL.

4.       In the UK and USA the current trend is very much to impose greater restrictions on abortion because of new and compelling medical evidence as to the viability of the unborn child from a much earlier age than previously thought. DFL submitted to the members of Parliament that this was certainly not the time to liberalise the South African law even more.

5.       The press coverage estimating that 500 deaths occur each year due to the misuse of Misoprostil (Pretoria News 5 March 2004), coupled with the admissions by the Free State department of Health that deaths occurred as a result of the misuse of the tablets, add weight to a powerful case for delaying the new Bill and considering introducing clauses that will stop these abuses of the current law. Copies of the Free State admissions can be obtained from DFL.

For enquiries phone John Smyth, QC at 083 653 8804. Copies of the 8 page submission including appendices presented to the Parliamentary Committee are available from Shadrack or Martus at the DFL office - Tel: (031) 760 0443.   

Doctors for Life International represent more than 1000 medical doctors and specialists across South Africa and the globe.

ACLJ Announces Settlement of Case of Health Dept. Employee in Illinois Claimed Discrimination Based on Pro-Life Beliefs

American Center for Law and Justice

Rockford, Illinois, USA
27 May, 2004

The American Center for Law and Justice, which specializes in constitutional law, announced today the settlement of the case of a health department employee from Illinois who filed a federal discrimination lawsuit in 2003 claiming she was denied a promotion based on her pro-life religious beliefs.

"We are pleased to announce that this case has been settled and that the issues that led to the lawsuit have been resolved amicably," said Francis J. Manion, Senior Counsel of the ACLJ, which filed suit on behalf of the employee. "We are committed to protecting pro-life employees who find themselves at odds with job demands that conflict with their deeply held belief that all human life is sacred. Public and private employers need to know that pro-life employees enjoy legal protection under existing federal and state laws. We stand ready to enforce the policies embodied in the Illinois law and similar laws across the country wherever pro-life speech and beliefs are jeopardized."

Manion cited the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act, which declares that it is the public policy of that state "to respect and protect the right of conscience of all persons who refuse . . . to act contrary to their conscience or conscientious convictions in refusing to obtain, receive, accept, deliver, pay for, or arrange for the payment of health care services and medical care."

The ACLJ filed suit in May 2003 in U.S. District Court in Rockford, Illinois on behalf of Faith Moncivaiz, formerly a secretary with the DeKalb County Health Department. The suit contended that her former employer violated her rights of free speech, freedom of religion, as well as her right to be free from religious discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act. The suit contended that Moncivaiz was denied a promotion from a part-time secretarial position to a full-time position in the County Health Department because she expressed her reluctance to participate in any way in abortion counseling of Health Department clients.

In a settlement agreement reached between the ACLJ and the DeKalb County Health Department, the county agreed to pay the sum of $40,000 in settlement of Moncivaiz's claims without admitting liability in the case. As a result of the settlement agreement, the parties agreed that the lawsuit would be dismissed.

Contact: GENE KAPP (757) 575-9520
The American Center for Law and Justice, which specializes in constitutional law and pro-life litigation, is based in Washington, D.C.


Ethics Profiling in the Health Care Profession
Conscience Legislation Needed to Stop Abuse of Authority

Canadian Physicians for Life

Ottawa
12 May, 2004

The recent near-failing of a medical student at a Canadian university, solely because the student has pro-life convictions, shows how intolerant some people have become about choices they dislike. For years, Canadian Physicians for Life has received anecdotal complaints from students who suspect that their medical school admission interview went badly after they truthfully answered questions which probed for pro-life beliefs. This recent case was blatant and completely documented, created undue anxiety for the student, and only ended after many months of unsuccessful appeals of the teachers' intolerant actions. A modern democracy should have a keen interest in protecting vulnerable students from coercion by preceptors and professors who are unaware of, or insensitive to, the concept of freedom of conscience.

We don't screen immigrants to Canada on the basis of race or religion. Why should such litmus tests be applied to citizens applying to enter key professions? Ethics profiling is no less objectionable than racial profiling.

Freedom of conscience, it seems, is now granted freely only to those whose views are acceptable to an authoritarian, secularist establishment. Others must endure the enormous costs and stress of legal challenges or implore sympathetic fellow citizens to petition those in power on their behalf. Until this situation is corrected, the Canadian experiment in pluralism will remain in a delayed adolescence.

Sincere proponents of multiculturalism and pluralism understand the importance of protection of conscience. But they must come to recognize that too many in positions of power need statutory reminders to treat fairly those who disagree with them about the damage abortion does to women and children.

Basic conscience protection such as that provided in Bill C-276 begins to address the problems of abuse of authority and ethics profiling which lead to the kind of injustice seen in the recent case of the medical student. Such abuses must be explicitly treated in law, not left to an ad-hoc scramble by the victim and his or her friends.

The time is long overdue for the Parliament of Canada to follow the lead of countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, and 46 American states to protect and clarify freedom of conscience for Canadian health care workers. In addition to necessary employment protection, the proposed Canadian legislation corrects deficiencies found in many such laws by explicitly protecting persons of conscience from exclusion from health sciences education and from discrimination by professional licensing bodies.

Will Johnston, MD
President, Canadian Physicians for Life

Canadian Physicians for Life
29 Moore Street, R.R. # 2
Richmond ON K0A 2Z0
ph/fax: 613-728-LIFE (5433)
info@physiciansforlife.ca
Statement by Maurice Vellacott, M.P.

Ottawa

May 12, 2004

We are here today representing all pro-life legislators - Members of Parliament and Senators - as we share in the annual March for Life commemoration taking place this week on Parliament Hill.

As you know, the March for Life is an attempt by life-affirming Canadians to keep the Canadian government and the Canadian public from sweeping the tragedy of abortion under the carpet. It is a witness to our commitment to the health of women, the life of babies and the strength of families. It is an annual event designed to call on the legislators of this country to redress the injustice of the abortion-on-demand regime we have lived under for over 35 years.

As legislators, we share this concern with the majority of Canadians. As the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, we work towards advancing and supporting pro-life initiatives in Parliament with Private Members' Bills, participation in events like this, and other activities.

Today, our specific purpose is to draw attention to the injustices against pro-life health care professionals, and to urge both the federal government and provincial governments and professional associations to implement policies that guarantee the constitutionally-protected freedom of conscience for pro-life nurses, doctors, pharmacists and medical students.

For years, I have been aware of complaints from those in the medical professions about the pressure that nurses and doctors experience when they refuse to participate in abortion procedures or provide referral services for women seeking abortions. Some of this harassment has included loss of advancement in the workplace, reduced flexibility in the workplace, threat of job loss and risk of failure in medical school.

In many cases, students and employees have had to redirect their studies and work to avoid the intimidation. It is very difficult for these medical professionals and students to seek redress for the violation of their constitutional rights. Since the political and professional power centres are biased against these pro-life health care workers, we, as pro-life legislators, want to speak out on their behalf, and highlight the failure of leadership to protect their constitutional freedoms, and urge the political and professional leaders to reform their policies so as to protect these people.

I have twice introduced a Private Member's Bill that would strengthen the protection of these constitutional rights for health care workers. It has been debated in Parliament, but the government has opposed it each time. The most recent bill is numbered C-276. I would urge the federal government and all Members of Parliament to show their support for our constitution and for these high-calibre, service-oriented pro-life nurses, doctors, pharmacists and medical students by supporting such a bill and passing it into law.

Planned Parenthood Continues Their Campaign of Lies About the Nation's Most Comprehensive Conscience Clause Bill

Wisconsin Right to Life

For immediate release
Thursday, May 6, 2004

The Battle Lines Already Drawn for 2005-06 Legislative Session

Planned Parenthood, the state's largest abortion provider, continues to disseminate outright lies about the nation's most comprehensive legislation dealing with conscience rights for health care professionals and facilities. 

The Conscience Clause Bill, Assembly Bill 67, was authored by Rep. Jean Hundertmark (R-Clintonville) and Sen. Carol Roessler (R-Oshkosh).  It passed both houses of the legislature and was vetoed by Governor Doyle.  Planned Parenthood, the major opponent of AB 67,  supported Doyle in his campaign for Governor.

The Hundertmark/Roessler bill is considered to be model legislation for other states to use.  The legislation has drawn both national and international interest. 

"Planned Parenthood has been sending flyers to Wisconsin residents that falsely portray the bill as legislation that 'denies women access to and information about their reproductive health care options,'" said Susan Armacost, Legislative Director of Wisconsin Right to Life.  Wisconsin Right to Life was the lead organization advocating for the passage of AB 67.   "That is an outright and blatant lie coming from an organization that wants to force medical professionals and facilities to perform abortions against their will."

The Conscience Clause Bill would protect medical professionals, medical students and facilities from being forced to participate in activities related to abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, the deliberate destruction of human embryos and the use of the body parts of aborted babies.  The legislation does not ban any of those activities but merely protects those particular health care professionals, medical students and facilities who do not want to engage in activities that deliberately destroy human life.  Conscience rights are granted only in the areas of abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, the deliberate destruction of human embryos and the use of the body parts of aborted babies.

"If you look at who is making various absurd claims about the Hundertmark/Roessler bill, you soon realize it is coming from the radical pro-abortion lobby who has gone to court in several states to force facilities to perform abortions against their will," said Armacost.  "The really scary thing is that they have been successful in several situations."

Examples of pro-abortion court "successes" include Alaska, where the State Supreme Court ruled that some community hospitals must perform abortions against their will.  In Connecticut, a certificate of need was denied to a proposed out-patient clinic that refused to perform abortions.  Pro-abortion forces have been successful in the courts in other states, as well.  In the U. S. Congress, attempts have been made by the pro-abortion lobby to force medical schools to train medical students to perform abortions or lose accreditation.

"The agenda of this radical pro-abortion group is clear," said Armacost.  "Planned Parenthood wants to force every medical professional, every medical student and every medical facility to perform abortions.  They view the Conscience Clause Bill as a major obstacle to their ultimate goal."

Armacost said that supporters of the Hundertmark/Roessler bill consider the past legislative session's activity on the bill to have been a "trial run."   "The supporters of the Conscience Clause Bill will be back with a vengeance in the next legislative session to promote this very important legislation."

Contact:  Susan Armacost, Legislative Director

Pro-Life Wisconsin Kicks Off Pharmacists Conscience Clause Petition Drive

Pro-Life Wisconsin

For immediate release
April 22, 2004

Pharmacists deserve conscience protections - NOT pink slips!

Pro-Life Wisconsin has initiated a statewide petition drive calling on Wisconsin's state legislators to protect in law the conscience rights of pharmacists who refuse to engage in practices that violate the sanctity of human life - specifically chemical abortion and euthanasia. Over 5,000 petitions have already been circulated statewide with a goal of delivering over 15,000 signatures to the Wisconsin Legislature in spring 2005.

The petition reads in part, "Pharmacists deserve conscience protections - NOT pink slips! Let's tell the Wisconsin Legislature to… stop employment discrimination against pharmacists who refuse to participate in abortion and euthanasia!"

"As a pharmacist licensed in the state of Wisconsin, I have experienced first hand the fear of disciplinary action based on my creed, and realize how important a conscience clause bill is for the future of pharmacy," said Yvonne Klubertanz, R.Ph. "There is an acute shortage of pharmacists in Wisconsin. If pharmacists are being fired or not allowed equal opportunities because they object to dispensing medications that cause abortions, we are doing our society and state a grave injustice. Hopefully, Pro-Life Wisconsin's petition drive will raise awareness of this critical issue."

Techniques focusing on chemical means to end the lives of preborn babies, such as the morning-after pill, have received FDA approval and are increasingly available. It is common to receive life-ending drugs in a pharmacy, thus compelling pharmacists to be party to abortion.

"It is a medical fact that the morning-after pill will often act to cause early chemical abortion by preventing a newly conceived child from implanting in the womb," said Matt Sande, Pro-Life Wisconsin's legislative affairs director. "Pharmacists are valued members of the professional health care team who should not be forced to choose between their consciences and their livelihoods. Just as a woman's legal right to surgical abortion does not compel a hospital to provide one, a woman's legal right to abortion-causing drugs should not compel a pharmacist to dispense them."

Pro-Life Wisconsin is encouraging all Wisconsin residents to sign the pharmacist conscience clause petition. The petition can be printed online by visiting http://ww.prolifewisconsin.org

Contact: Matt Sande, Legislative Affairs Director;  Peggy Hamill, State Director;  262-796-1111, 414-416-0489 or info@prolifewisconsin.org

Governor Delivers a Slap in the Face to the Medical Community!
Doyle Joins the Radical Pro-Abortion Fringe In Wanting to Force Health Care Professionals and Facilities to Participate in Activities That Deliberately Destroy Human Life

Wisconsin Right to Life

For immediate release
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Assembly Bill 67, also known as the Conscience Clause Bill, was vetoed today by Gov. James Doyle.  Doyle joined ranks with Planned Parenthood and the radical pro-abortion lobby in opposing the nation's most comprehensive legislation that would protect the conscience rights of medical professionals and facilities in certain defined areas.

"It is truly shocking that Wisconsin's governor has so little regard for those members of the medical profession who do not want to be forced to participate in activities that deliberately destroy human life,"  said Susan Armacost, Legislative Director for Wisconsin Right to Life.  "Everyone recognizes that the activities outlined in AB 67 involve the deliberate destruction of human life and many health care professionals want nothing to do with these activities.  These individuals see their mission in the medical field as treating and healing patients…not destroying their lives."

Assembly Bill 67 would protect health care professionals and facilities from being forced to participate in abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, unethical research involving the deliberate destruction of human embryos for research purposes and the use of fetal tissue obtained from aborted babies.  The bill is limited to providing conscience rights only in these areas and the bill does not ban any of the activities outlined in the bill.

Planned Parenthood, the organization that most strongly opposed AB 67, is the state's largest abortion provider.  Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups have forced hospitals in some states, through court action, to perform abortions against their will.  These organizations are also trying to pass a federal law that would require all medical schools to teach abortion or lose accreditation.

Planned Parenthood supported Doyle in his election bid for governor.

"It is now clear that Wisconsin's governor agrees with Planned Parenthood that health care professionals and facilities should be forced to engage in activities that deliberately destroy human life," said Armacost.  "Every Wisconsin citizen should be outraged at the actions of Doyle and of Planned Parenthood."

"Wisconsin Right to Life will be back with renewed vigor and determination in the next legislative session to promote the Conscience Clause Bill," said Armacost.

Contact:  Susan Armacost, Legislative Director
Planned Parenthood Launches Campaign of Outright Lies Regarding the Nation's Most Comprehensive Bill Dealing With Conscience Rights
Wisconsin Right to Life Requests Meeting With Governor Doyle To Provide Him With the Truth About the Bill

Wisconsin Right to Life

For immediate release
Wednesday, April 15, 2004

Today, Planned Parenthood, the state's largest abortion provider, announced they would be undertaking a "public information campaign" to target several legislators who voted for Assembly Bill 67, also known as the Conscience Clause Bill.

Wisconsin Right to Life is the lead organization promoting Assembly Bill 67, which passed both the Assembly and State Senate and is on its way to Governor Doyle's desk.  Doyle has publicly stated that he intends to veto this legislation.

Assembly Bill 67 would protect the conscience rights of health care professionals and facilities so they would not be forced to participate in a number of activities that deliberately destroy human life.  The activities in the legislation for which conscience rights could be evoked are abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, unethical research involving the deliberate destruction of human embryos and the use of fetal tissue from aborted babies.

"Everyone recognizes that these particular activities are carried out for the express purpose of destroying human life," said Susan Armacost, Legislative Director of Wisconsin Right to Life.  "Within the medical profession, there are some individuals and facilities who want no part of these activities.  But there are also some organizations, like Planned Parenthood, who want to force physicians, nurses, medical students, research assistants and others to participate in these activities against their will.  Assembly Bill 67 would protect the conscience rights of medical professionals and facilities only in the specific areas defined in the legislation."

Assembly Bill 67 does not ban any of the activities outlined in the bill.  It merely protects the right of individual health care professionals and facilities, who believe their mission is to treat and heal, to not be forced to participate in acts involving the deliberate destruction of human life.

"Planned Parenthood is engaging in a campaign of outright lies regarding this commonsense and much needed legislation,"  said Armacost  "In order to garner opposition to AB 67, pro-abortion forces and others falsely claim that the legislation 'would restrict access to health care.'"

"The fact that Planned Parenthood considers abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia to be 'health care' is, in and of itself, outrageous.  They don't seem to understand that most people think it's wrong to fire a member of the medical community or to slap them with a lawsuit because they don't want to participate in the deliberate killing of vulnerable people.  If one physician refuses to participate in the taking of human life, nothing in AB 67 would prevent a patient from going to another physician who is willing to comply.  In spite of the scare tactics being employed by Planned Parenthood, AB 67 is a very simple, commonsense concept that protects conscience rights in very defined areas and bans nothing."

Given the massive amount of misinformation being circulated about Assembly 67, Armacost has requested a meeting with Governor Doyle, prior to his taking any action on the bill, in order to bring him the facts about what the legislation would and would not do and to answer any questions he might have about the legislation.

"Even though Governor Doyle has stated he plans to veto AB 67, it is important that he know the facts prior to taking any action on the bill," said Armacost.  "Thus far, only the Planned Parenthoods of the world have had his ear on this issue.  And now, we are asking for the opportunity to provide the Governor with accurate and truthful information regarding AB 67."

Contact:  Susan Armacost, Legislative Director
Governor Says He Will Veto Conscience Clause Bill!
Doyle and Radical Pro-Abortion Groups Will Have A Hard Tim Explaining Why They Want to Force Health Care Professionals and Facilities to Participate in Activities That Deliberately Destroy Human Life

Wisconsin Right to Life

For immediate release
Wednesday, March 16, 2004

Yesterday, Governor Doyle informed the media that plans to veto Assembly Bill 67, the Conscience Clause Bill, which was authored by Rep. Jean Hundertmark (R-Clintonville) and Sen. Carol Roessler (R-Oshkosh).

The Conscience Clause Bill would protect the conscience rights of health care professionals and facilities so they would not be forced to participate in a number of activities that everyone recognizes causes the deliberate destruction of human life.   The activities in the legislation for which conscience rights could be evoked are abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, unethical research involving the deliberate destruction of human embryos, and the use of fetal tissue from aborted babies. The legislation does not create conscience rights for any other activity nor does it ban any of the activities outlined in the bill.  It merely protects those particular health care professionals and facilities, who believe their mission is to treat and heal, from being forced to participate in acts involving the deliberate destruction of human life.

In spite of the claims of the pro-abortion movement, The Conscience Clause Bill does not create a conscience right for the dispensing or prescribing of various items that prevent a new human life from being created.   The legislation does create a conscience right for drugs that are specifically manufactured to be used to cause an abortion, such as RU 486.

"We are simply appalled that our Governor has such little respect for those in the medical profession who do not want to be forced to participate in the activities outlined in the legislation,"  said Susan Armacost, Legislative Director for Wisconsin Right to Life.  "Everyone recognizes that these particular activities involve the deliberate destruction of human life.   Yet, the radical pro-abortion lobby and the Governor would like to force physicians, nurses, medical students, research assistants and others to participate in those activities against their will."

"If you look at who is making various absurd claims about this legislation, you readily see they are coming from the radical pro-abortion movement.  This is the same bunch who went to court in several states to force facilities to perform abortions against their will.  The really scary thing is that they have been successful in a number of situations.  Assembly Bill 67 is desperately needed to protect doctors, nurses, medical students and facilities if pro-abortion activists in Wisconsin attempt similar tactics," said Armacost.

Examples of pro-abortion court "successes" include Alaska, where the State Supreme Court ruled that some community hospitals must perform abortions against their will.  In Connecticut, a certificate of need was denied to a proposed outpatient clinic that refused to perform abortions.  Pro-abortion forces have also been successful in the courts in other states.  In the U. S. Congress, attempts have been made by the pro-abortion lobby to force medical programs to train medical students to perform abortions or lose accreditation  In order to garner opposition to AB 67, pro-abortion forces have claimed that AB 67 would "restrict access to health care" and would "deny medical treatment due to the practitioner's personal or moral beliefs."

"We predict that when Governor Doyle vetoes AB 67, he will use the very same arguments as his allies in the radical pro-abortion movement have used," said Armacost.  "The fact that opponents of the legislation consider abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia to be 'health care' is, in and of itself, outrageous.  These folks just don't get it!  Most people actually think it's wrong to fire or penalize a member of the medical community because they don't want to kill someone," said Armacost.

"A veto of this reasonable, commonsense legislation will leave the public in disbelief  and wondering why in the world our governor would want to force health care professionals and facilities to engage in activities that deliberately destroy human life.  There's just no way a veto of this legislation  can be justified," said Armacost.     

Contact:  Susan Armacost, Legislative Director
CMA doctors rue California's breach of religious freedom

2 March, 2004

Washington, DC, March 2, 2004--"Faith-based organizations must retain the freedom to follow religious and ethical beliefs in matters regarding issues such as birth control," said Christian Medical Association Executive Director David Stevens, M.D. today, reacting against a California Supreme Court decision to force Catholic Charities to provide contraception coverage to its employees. The California court determined that Catholic Charities did not qualify for a religious exemption under the state's contraception mandate because the group employs workers who may not belong to the Catholic Church and counsels and helps people regardless of their religious beliefs.

"The key issue here is not even the important question of the ethics  of birth control," noted Stevens, "but the fundamental freedom to follow the dictates of one's conscience and of the teachings of one's religious faith.

"This case presents a picture of the Catch-22 that some would use to hamstring faith-based organizations. On one hand, they fight laws that would allow faith-based organizations to restrict hiring to those who follow its religious teachings. Then on the other hand, as soon a faith-based organizations hires others, they say it's no longer a faith-based organization and loses religious and conscience freedoms. The hypocrisy is stunning--but not surprising, given abortion activists' drive to force their political agenda on everyone who disagrees with their views." Planned Parenthood and other abortion activist groups have pushed for contraception mandates and strenuously fought strong conscience protection laws.

CMA Associate Executive Director Gene Rudd, MD added, "What we are seeing in this country is a wholesale movement to deny healthcare professionals the right to follow their own consciences, especially in matters regarding reproduction. Mandating abortion training for New York City residents in training, forcing pharmacists to fill prescriptions that violate their consciences, and requiring faith-based organizations to violate their religious teachings are all serious violations of our constitutional freedom of speech and religion. Even those who disagree with the teachings of religious organizations should recognize that denying the constitutional freedoms of one group is a threat to the constitutional freedoms of every one of us." 


on Concurrence with Senate Action on Conscience Clause Bill (AB 67)
Pro-Abortion Lobby Resorts to Ridiculous Arguments Regarding the Nation's Most Comprehensive Bill Dealing With Conscience Rights

Wisconsin Right to Life

For immediate release
Thursday, February 19, 2004

The Assembly is likely to vote next week on concurrence with State Senate action on the nation's most comprehensive conscience clause legislation, Assembly Bill 67.   The legislation is authored by Rep. Jean Hundertmark (R-Clintonville) and Sen. Carol Roessler (R-Oshkosh).  After the Assembly completes it work on AB 67, the measure will go to the governor.

Assembly Bill 67 would protect the conscience rights of health care professionals and facilities so they would not be forced to participate in a number of activities that deliberately destroy human life.  The activities in the legislation for which conscience rights could be evoked are abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, unethical research involving the deliberate destruction of human embryos, and the use of fetal tissue

"Everyone recognizes that these particular activities involve the deliberate destruction of human life," said Susan Armacost, Legislative Director of Wisconsin Right to Life.  "Within the medical profession, there are some individuals and facilities who want no part of those activities.  But there are also some organizations and legislators who would like to force physicians, nurses, medical students, research assistants and others to participate in those activities against their will.  Assembly Bill 67 would protect the conscience rights of medical professionals and facilities only in the specific areas defined in the legislation."

Assembly Bill 67 does not ban any of the activities outlined in the bill.  It merely protects the right of health care professionals and facilities, who believe their mission is to treat and heal, to not be forced to participate in acts involving the deliberate destruction of human life.

"To listen to the ridiculous arguments coming from the opponents of AB 67, you'd think that medical care, as we know it, would be doomed if AB 67 becomes law" said Armacost.  "If you look at the majority of those who are making various absurd claims about AB 67, you soon realize it is coming mainly from the radical pro-abortion lobby who has gone to court in several states to force facilities to perform abortions against their will.   The really scary thing is that they have been successful in several situations."

Examples of pro-abortion court successes include Alaska, where the State Supreme Court ruled that some community hospitals must perform abortions against their will.  In Connecticut, a certificate of need was denied to a proposed outpatient clinic that refused to perform abortions.  Pro-abortion forces have been successful in other states.  In the U. S. Congress, attempts have been made by the pro-abortion lobby to force medical programs to train medical students to perform abortions or lose accreditation.  Assembly Bill 67 would provide protection for health care professionals, medical students and facilities if pro-abortion activists in Wisconsin attempt similar tactics.  And it is this fact that so concerns the pro-abortion lobby.

In order to garner opposition to AB 67, pro-abortion forces and some others  claim AB 67 would "restrict access to health care" and would "deny medical treatment due to the practitioner's personal or moral beliefs."  They also say that legislators "have no business giving doctors the power to pick and choose what health care options they provide their patients."

"The fact that opponents of the bill consider abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia to be 'health care' is, in and of itself, outrageous," said Armacost.  "They don't seem to understand that most people think it's wrong to fire a member of the medical community or to slap them with a civil suit because they don't want to participate in the deliberate killing of vulnerable people.  If one physician refuses to participate in the taking of human life, nothing in AB 67 would prevent a patient from going to another physician who is willing to comply.   In spite of the scare tactics being employed by the opponents of AB 67, the legislation is a very simple, commonsense concept that protects conscience rights and bans nothing." 

Some opponents of AB 67 claim that including assisted suicide and euthanasia in the bill is unnecessary because those activities are currently illegal in Wisconsin.   One of the reasons AB 67 is considered to be the strongest conscience clause measure in the nation is because it is both comprehensive and forward looking.  Even though assisted suicide and euthanasia are not now legal in our state, a court could overturn our laws prohibiting these acts just as surely as Roe v. Wade made our laws against abortion invalid.  Should that occur, and it is a very real possibility given some recent court rulings,  AB 67 would protect facilities and health care professionals who object to this deliberate taking of human life.  In addition, there are some actions that currently occur in Wisconsin's hospitals and nursing homes that are tantamount to euthanasia.  The removal of food and fluids from patients who are not terminally ill and who are not dying is considered by some health care professionals to be tantamount to euthanasia because it would result in a patient being starved and dehydrated to death. Thus, AB 67 is needed to protect conscience rights in all of these areas.

"We look forward to the Assembly completing its action on AB 67," said Armacost.  "We are particularly appreciative to the leadership in the Assembly and State Senate for dealing with this issue in such a fair and timely manner."

Contact:  Susan Armacost, Legislative Director
Why Pro-Life Wisconsin Opposes Assembly Bill 67 (as amended)

(The sentiments contained herein from Pro Life Wisconsin mirror policy already enumerated numerous times by PFLI in many public fora.  Hence AB 63/SB21 has PFLI's support, as written. More importantly, AB 67 as amended, is an eviscerated and emasculated bill and strips away what little protections of conscience pharmacists have in WI today.  PFLI PharmAid Center)

Last Thursday, Assembly 67 (the health care conscience clause bill) passed the State Senate 20-13.  PLW was placed in the very difficult position of having to oppose a bill we originally supported.  Not only was the bill amended to weaken beginning-of-life issues, but it was amended to weaken end-of-life issues as well.

As originally drafted, AB 67 offered workplace protections to a variety of health care professionals who do not wish to be involved in abortion and other life-ending procedures.  However, an Assembly amendment gutted AB 67 by specifically excluding protections for medical professionals, including pharmacists, who conscientiously refuse to provide abortion-causing hormonal "contraceptives" (birth control drugs or devices).

For example, the amended bill does not shield from employment discrimination or professional discipline a pharmacist who conscientiously refuses to dispense the "morning-after-pill."  It also does not provide any protection for a physician or nurse who conscientiously refuses to inject Norplant or insert an intrauterine device (IUD). It is a medical fact that the "morning-after-pill" and the above mentioned birth control devices can act to terminate a pregnancy by chemically preventing an already fertilized egg (a fully human embryo) from implanting in the uterine wall.  This action constitutes chemical abortion. 

Current law (Wisconsin Statutes 253.09(3) Abortion refused; no liability; no discrimination) already protects health care employees from being fired or otherwise discriminated against based on a conscientious refusal to participate in surgical abortion.  AB 67 as originally drafted would have extended that conscience protection to cover pre-implantation chemical abortion as well.  This provision was the primary reason Pro-Life Wisconsin supported AB 67.  It was also the heart of the bill, almost the entire rational for enacting it.  Bizarrely, it is precisely the provision the amendment nullified.

Pro-Life Wisconsin considers it undebatable that a baby's life and a mother's pregnancy begin at the instant of conception or fertilization.  Health care workers ought not to be forced to participate in the moral evil of killing human beings either before or after implantation.

Pro-Life Wisconsin has been working very hard to educate the Legislature and the public about chemical abortion.  To codify in law the notion that pre-implantation chemical abortion is either not a reality or nothing to be concerned about (by explicitly and conspicuously excluding any conscience protections surrounding it) is a step backward in the defense of preborn children.

Not only does AB 67 not improve current law in the area of early chemical abortion, it  actually weakens current law.  A memo from the non-partisan Wisconsin Legislative Council to Representative Glenn Grothman dated April 22, 2003, strongly indicates that AB 67 as amended would weaken current law conscience rights protections under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA) for pharmacists and other health care professionals who refuse to prescribe, dispense or administer abortion causing contraceptive drugs and devices.

Because their work concentrates on dispensing drugs, pharmacists are especially at risk when they refuse to participate in chemical abortions.  Most of the cases of employment discrimination against pharmacists currently being adjudicated involve an individual pharmacist's refusal to dispense emergency contraception, also known as the morning-after pill. 

Just as a woman's legal right to a surgical abortion should not compel a hospital to provide one, a woman's legal right to abortifacient drugs and devices should not compel a pharmacist to dispense them. 

It is both counterintuitive and counterproductive to exclude from Assembly Bill 67 the very protection pharmacists so desperately desire.

To make matters worse, a Senate amendment to AB 67 was adopted in committee and passed on the floor that weakens conscience rights protections in the area of passive euthanasia (the withholding or withdrawal of nutrition or hydration).

Under Senate Amendment 1, if a physician invokes his or her conscience right to not participate in honoring an advanced directive / living will that calls for the removal of nutrition and hydration, the physician must still make a good faith attempt to transfer the patient to another physician who will comply with the directive.  This betrays the very concept of statutory conscience rights protection, as the physician would be forced to indirectly participate in the moral evil of euthanasia. 

For the above reasons, Pro-Life Wisconsin cannot support AB 67.  Should Governor Doyle sign the measure, it will be nearly impossible to undo the damage in successive legislatures.

Why Pro-Life Wisconsin Supports Assembly Bill 63 / Senate Bill 21:

FDA-approved abortion techniques focusing on chemical means to end the life of preborn babies, such as emergency contraception and many other forms of abortifacient birth control, are increasingly compelling pharmacists to be party to abortion. 

There are documented "real-life" cases currently working their way through the courts - cases demonstrating that pharmacists have been put in the position of either leaving their jobs or compromising their beliefs.  No pharmacist in Wisconsin or any other state should have to check his or her conscience at the door on a daily basis.

Let's send a loud and clear message to Madison that pre-implantation chemical abortion exists and that pharmacist's deserve legal protection!!

Pro-Life Wisconsin asks you to contact your state legislators in support of AB 63/SB 21, the comprehensive Pharmacists Conscience Clause Bill.