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Protection of Conscience Project

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July-September, 2011


29 September, 2011
French physicians increasingly object to providing abortion

An anonymous physician writing on a French language blog asserts that doctors in France are increasinlgy unwilling to perform abortions, and tolerate rather than accept the practice. Most apparently refuse to be involved for reasons of conscience. [Lifesite News]

29 September, 2011
US Catholic bishops form committee for religious liberty

Citing serious challenges to religious liberty by the American government, the President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced the formation of an Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty. Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York stated that the move "is one element of what I expect to be a new moment in the history of our Conference. Never before have we faced this kind of challenge to our ability to engage in the public square as people of faith and as a service provider. If we do not act now, the consequence will be grave." [Letter]

28 September, 2011
Deadline approaches for comment on new US federal rule

With the deadline approaching for the end of public comment on a new US federal regulation that would force employers to pay for health insurance for services to which they object for reasons of conscience, a representative of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops notes that over 32,000 comments were filed with the Department of Health and Human Services using the link provided on an insert to church bulletins. The proposed regulation would force Catholic institutions to pay not only for contraceptives, but for abortifacients. [M. Winters]

President of Notre Dame University reminds Obama administration of promise

The President of Notre Dame University has reminded the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services that President Obama promised to support "a sensible conscience clause." Rev. John Jenkins points out that a "sensible conscience clause" is lacking in the proposed regulation that would force Catholic institutions to pay for insurance for contraception and potentially embryocidal or abortificaient services. Like others protesting the regulation, he asserts that the definition of "religious employer" is too narrow. [Jenkins' letter]

26 September, 2011
Saskatchewan physician guidelines in dispute

Seven Regina physicians have written to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan, the regulatory authority for the province's physicians, to complain about a Guideline for Unplanned Pregnancy adopted earlier this year. While the letter questions the need for guidelines at all, it also appears to suggest that objecting physicians should be forced to refer patients for abortions if they are unwilling to perform or recommend the procedure themselves. The Project review of the Guideline found it less than clear [See Clarifying the Clarification]

24 September, 2011
UN Committee fabricates claim in attempt to force abortion on Ireland

The UN Committee Against Torture has issued a report that demands that Ireland legalize abortion, suggesting that this is required by the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. [CAT Report]. The claim is a fabrication. (See Conscientious Objection as a Crime Against Humanity)

23 September, 2011
Catholic Health Association speaks out on freedom of conscience

The Catholic Health Association has filed comments supporting freedom of conscience for health care workers and institutions and protesting plans by the federal Department of Health and Human Services to revoke a regulation passed by the previous administration. "Our religious and moral convictions are the source of both the work we do," wrote the CHA, "and the limits on what we will do." The Association argues that the proposed definition of "religious employer" is too narrow, that the proposed regulation conflicts with state and federal protection of conscience laws, and that it would put Catholic hospitals in the position of having to pay for employee insurance coverage for procedures that they refuse to perform for reasons of conscience. [Full text]

Most Portuguese physicians would refuse to provide euthanasia

Responding to proposals to legalize euthanasia in Portugal, Miguel Oliveira da Silva, president of Portugal's National Ethics Council for Life Sciences, states that 80 to 90 percent of Portuguese physicians would refuse to provide the procedure. [Lifesite News]

21 September, 2011
Catholic college in Colorado contemplates conscientious objection

Regis University, a Jesuit institution in Colorado, is considering its legal options as a result of a new Colorado statute that demands that insurance plans provide contraceptives and potentially embryocidal or abortifacient drugs or devices. The law was passed without an exemption for religious institutions or employers despite opposition from the Colorado Catholic Conference of Bishops. The University does not plan to provide or refer for contraceptives. [CNA]

20 September, 2011
US bishops continue to speak out on freedom of conscience

Catholic Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien, Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Wilmington Bishop W. Francis Malooly have written to US Dept. of Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to protest the proposed regulation that would force employers to provide insurance for FDA-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures and related educational services. They describe the proposal as "a radically new and unprecedented attack on religious freedom." [The Catholic Review]

16 September, 2011
"Right to health" and right to euthanasia and assisted suicide

A report by Special Rapporteur Anand Grover to the 18th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (Thematic study on the realization of the right to health of
older persons
) drew a warning from a representative of the Holy See, which noted that Grover introduced the topic of euthanasia and assisted suicide within the context of a discussion of "a holistic approach to health" that addresses "the process of dying." (Paragraph 59). Grover explicitly stated that the report did not consider "issues of patient autonomy in respect of deciding to end life," but the Holy See made a point of rejecting the notion that there is a "right" to deliberately end life [Statement from the Holy See]. It did not, however, reject the idea that there is a "right to health," which is the fundamental assumption underlying the report.

The right to health will not provide a magic solution to these multifaceted challenges, but it will allow shifting the discourse on older persons from a needs-based approach to a rights-based one, and enable greater articulation of the rights of older persons. Health is a fundamental human right, indispensable for the exercise of many other rights. (Paragraph 11)

What is of interest here is that Grover explicitly frames his comments on end of life issues and the desire to "die with dignity" within "a human rights perspective." He has previously argued "rights to sexual and reproductive health" are being impeded by individuals exercising conscientious objection to abortion and contracepetion. [Statement] It is reasonable to believe that he and other will apply the same reasoning to suppress conscientious objection among health care workers to euthanasia and assisted sucide on the grounds a "right to health" includes a "right" to these procedures.

12 September, 2011
Trade unions in United Kingdom seek protection of conscience rules

58 trade unions representing 6 1/2 million workers in the United Kingdom have unanimously voted to support a "conscience clause" to protect journalists who refuse to participate in unethical activities. [] This would seem to suggest that, in principle, the Trade Union Congress should support similar protection for health care workers.

10 September, 2011
Controversy in Philippines continues over 'reproductive health' bill

The Philippines Congress has resumed consideration of a controversial Reproductive Health Bill bill that presents a threat to freedom of conscience among health care workers. The head of the country's Catholic Bishops' Cosnference said earlier this week that the Church's oppostion to the bill is "non-negotiable." [UCA News] The Church has organized rallies against the bill, while its supporters have staged marches in favour of it. Hundreds marched in the Iloilo provincial capital wearing purple clothes as part of a "National Day of the Purple Ribbon for Reproductive Health." Some surveys suggest that over 70% of Filipinos support the legislation. [Philippines Daily Inquirer]

Former UK physician continues to assist people seeking suicide

80 year old Dr. Michael Irwin of England, who was struck from the medical register for attempting to assist someone to commit suicide, publicly acknowledges that he frequently provides advice to people who want to go to Switzerland to commit suicide. [The Telegraph] Irwin is among the activists who continue to press for legalization of the procedure in the United Kingdom, though it is unlikely that most people asissting in suicide will be prosecuted (Administrative legalization of assisted suicide in United Kingdom).

2nd court case in Canada seeks assisted suicide

A Quebec woman suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is planning a challenge to Canada's law against assisted suicide. Her lawyer plans to launch the civil suit in the Quebec Superior Court. [] Another case has already been initiated in British Columbia, supported by the BC Civil Liberties Association. It specifically seeks legalization of physician assisted suicide.

8 September, 2011
Claim: US medical schools discriminate against conscientious objectors

Daniel Kuebler, Ph.D, a professor of biology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, has published a column in the National Catholic Register that claims that medical schools in the United States discriminate against medical school applicants who have conscientious objections to abortion. While he admits that this has not been demonstrated by any "systematic study," he cites anecdotal evidence complied over a thirty year period that, he says, proves "that many schools are using abortion-related questions to screen out pro-life candidates." [NCR]

Dutch medical association demands referral for euthanasia

The Dutch Physicians Association (KNMG) has published a policy on physician invovlement in euthanasia and assisted suicide that acknowledges that there is no right to the procedures in law, that the procedures are not part of the standard care offered by physicians, and that the views of physicians who object to the procedures must be respected. However, the policy also demands that objecting physicians promptly refer patients for euthanasia or assisted suicide. It admits that there is no legal duty to do so, but claims that there is "a moral and professional duty" to refer. [The Role of the Physician in the Voluntary Termination of Life]

7 September, 2011
US Catholic bishops urge Congress to support freedom of conscience

Wrting on behalf of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo has urged the US Congress to support two bills that would support freedom of conscience currently denied under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (see HR1179 Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011, and S1467 - Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011). In his letter, the Cardinal also expressed concern about the Obama administration's plan to force all employers to pay for insurance coverage for contraception and other services that are contrary to Catholic teaching. He said that the attempt "to corral religion exclusively into the sanctuaries of houses of worship betrays a complete ignorance of the role of religion in American life, and of Congress's long tradition of far more helpful laws on religious freedom." [News release]

3 September, 2011
Administrative legalization of assisted suicide in United Kingdom

Since 2009, Crown prosectuors in the United Kingdom, following administrative guidelines approved in 2010, have not prosecuted anyone for assisted suicide, though 44 cases have been referred to them by police. While assisted suicide is a criminal offence, the guidelines permit prosecution only in circumstances in which someone is pressured to commit suicide or the person assisting profits from their death. In essence, police and Crown counsel are acting as regulators of the practice. The advantage to this arrangement for objecting health care workers is that they cannot be pressured to assist in what remains (technically) a criminal offence. [The Telegraph] How long this will remain the case is uncertain, since a similar arrangement, based on a statute rather than administrative guideline, permits euthanasia and assisted suicide in Holland, and the Dutch Physicians' Association now claims that objecting physicians have a moral and professional obligation to refer for the procedures. [The Role of the Physician in the Voluntary Termination of Life]

3 September, 2011
Irish senator addresses freedom of conscience in health care

Speaking in Rome, Irish senator Ronan Mullen stated, "The challenge in a pluralist society is to accommodate people's freedom on conscience while at the same time acknowledging that what is lawful is going to go on in that society." Mullen led the opposition to a proposal in the European Union that would have suppressed freedom of conscience for health care workers in Europe. [Rome Reports]

2 September, 2011
Objecting Spanish physician would quite medicine

Dr. Esteban Rodriguez Martin, a Spanish gynecologist, began a court case in 2008 to defend his freedom to refuse to be complicit in abortions. He has limited his practice to working with women in their third trimesters in order to avoid having to provide prenatal diagnoses that are usually used to facilitate eugenic abortions. He acknowledges that, if he loses the case, he may have to quit the practice of medicine. [CNA]

1 September, 2011
Disabled man seeks legalization of euthanasia in United Kingdom

An Englishman who has been paralyzed for six years after suffering a stroke is planning a legal challenge to allow for euthanasia "in only the most special of circumstances." [BBC News]


31 August, 2011
US Conference of Catholic Bishops protests contraceptive mandate

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has submitted a comment on the interim regulation promulgated by the US Department of Health and Human Services that will force employers to provide health insurance coverage for contraceptives. The submission states that the regulation is unprecedented, violates several federal laws as well as the US Constitution. The regulation, says the submission, would impose "burdens on conscience . . .almost entirely on observant Catholics." It would force objectors "to subsidize-and thereby endorse-conduct that they teach or otherwise state is wrong."

24 August, 2011
Study suggests most US obstetricians will not perform abortions

A survey of 1800 US obstetrician/gynaecologists found that 97% had encountered patients seeking abortion, but only 14% were willing to provide the procedure. ("Abortion Provision Among Practicing Obstetrician-Gynecologists." Stulberg, Debra B. MD, MAPP; Dude, Annie M. MD, PhD; Dahlquist, Irma BS; Curlin, Farr A. MD. Obstetrics & Gynecology: September 2011 - Volume 118 - Issue 3 - p 609-614doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e31822ad973). Given the constant demands that medical professionals provide abortions, the study underlines the importance of protection of conscience legislation.

17 August, 2011
Philippines president supports amended RH bill, freedom of conscience

President Benigno Aquino III has announced that the consolidated reproductive health bill will be included among 13 priority legislative measures that will be sent to Congress. He is seeking 10 amendments to the bill, including accommodation of conscientious objectors. [Manila Standard] The provisions in the current bill concerning freedom of conscience are unsatisfactory.

Concerns for freedom of conscience among UK pharmacists

The Telegraph reported earlier this month that a new guideline for pharmacists circulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council (Britain's pharmacy regulator) told pharmacists "For the first time . . . that their right to conscientious objection on religious grounds is secondary to the contractual demands of employers, such as the NHS." A Catholic pharmacist quoted in the report was concerned that some pharmacists would become unemployable, and a spokesman for the Thomas More Legal Centre warned that the guideline went too far in requiring an objector to facilitate access to a controversial service by referral. [Telegraph] The Council has since issued a news release stating that no new guidelines have been issued, though an existing guideline had been re-published and circulated.[News release] The existing Code of Ethics (3.4) imposes an obligation on objectors to "refer patients and the public to other providers," which some would find unacceptable.

13 August, 2011
Hospital backs down when challenged by nurses

Two nurses in the United Kingdom objected, for reasons of conscience, to working in a weekly medical abortion clinic in their hospital, where the abortifacient drug mifepristone was provided to patients. Hospital administration told them that they had no choice but to participate. The Thomas More Legal Centre wrote to the hospital, pointing out that the nurses had an absolute right to refuse to participate under the protection of conscience provision in the Abortion Act. The Center aslo warned the hospital that the Equality Act prohibited any discrimination against or harassment of the nurses based on their belief in the sanctity of life. The hospital first attempted to require the nurses to work in the clinic, without administering the drugs, but this was rejected as involving unacceptable complicity in the act of abortion. Ultimately, the hospital conceded the point and the nurses were assigned to other duties. [SPUC]

9 August, 2011
Ghana nurses to ensure patients practise 'family planning'

The Central Regional Minster of Ghana, Madam Ama Benyiwa-Doe, has told nurses that they are obliged not only to deliver family planning information to patients, but to "ensure that they accept them and practice them." [GNA] Her comments suggest that state pressure to conform to "family planning" practice is being applied not only to nurses, but to patients.

Mandatory contraceptive insurance coverage sparks controversy in USA

The regulation promulgated by the US Department of Health and Human Services that employers will be required by law to provide health insurance coverage for contraceptives has been welcomed by a number of commentators and interest groups. The Washington Post called it a "wise decision," and an editorial in a South Carolina newspaper said it makes "perfect sense." The Center for Reproductive Rights described it as "a tremendous victory for women," and it has been applauded by Planned Parenthood.

However, the move has been denounced by freedom of conscience advocates, especially observant Catholics who are to be forced to subsidize and facilitate what they consider to be gravely immoral conduct. It appears to have caught some of them by surprise.

"They defied the bishops to support President Barack Obama's health care overhaul," wrote the Associated Press. "Now Catholic hospitals are dismayed the law may force them to cover birth control free of charge to their employees." The Association said that it is "very concerned about the inadequacy of the conscience protections" in the rules.

A spokesman for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops noted that the protection of conscience provision is so narrowly written that it will not apply to most Catholic institutions. He asked if it was the government's intention to force the withdrawal of the Church from the provision of health care and social services. Similar criticisms were offered by a number of other commentators, including Michael Sean Winters. Writing in the National Catholic Reporter, he described the conscience provisions as "totally inadequate."

The Catholic League for Relgious and Civil Rights called the situation "even more pernicious than it looks." It pointed out that the current administration is moving to deny funds to religious groups that preferentially hire from within their own denominations to administer their social programmes and institutions, yet the regulation limits protection for freedom of conscience to religious entities set up precisely in that way. "If they are too religious, Catholic social service agencies risk losing federal funds, but if Catholic hospitals are not sufficiently religious, they cannot be exempt from carrying health insurance policies that transgress their religious tenets."

8 August, 2011
Eggs harvested from dead woman

The organs of a 17 year old woman who died after being struck by a car in Israel have been donated to four recipients. In addition, her family obtained a court order to harvest and freeze her eggs. For the moment, the hospital will not fertilize the ova without a court order. This is the first such incident in Israel. [Haaretz] The case illustrates the potential for conflicts of conscience among health care workers, both with respect to the harvesting of the eggs and their later fertilization and implantation.

4 August, 2011
"Ethics of the profession" in retrospect

An ABC news report [North Carolina's History of Eugenics] has described the treatment of men, womena nd children who were sterilized during the 45 year span of a state sterilization programme operated on eugenic principles.

"Eugenics in the U.S. is something that's still not nationally known. People associate it with Nazis; they don't realize that the U.S. did it too," says Rebecca Kluchin, an assistant professor of History at California State University, Sacramento who specializes in the U.S. eugenics programs.

The story graphically illustrates that "the ethics of the profession" of medicine sometimes leave much to be desired, thus underlining the importance of preserving freedom of consience for health care workers.

3 August, 2011
Physician assisted suicide/euthanasia court challenge to be expedited

The Supreme Court of British Columbia has agreed to expedite the hearing of a challenge to Canada's law against assisted suicide and euthanasia. The case will now begin on 15 November, 2011. The move is in response to a request from one of the plaintiff's, Gloria Taylor, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease. Taylor joined an action begun by three other plaintiffs and the BC Civil Liberties Association. The goal is to legalize physician-assisted suicide and physician-provided euthanasia. [Globe and Mail]

2 August, 2011
Protection of conscience bill introduced in US Senate

US Senator Roy Blunt has introduced Senate Bill 1467, the "Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011." The bill is identical to a House of Representatives bill of the same name. Co-sponsors are Senators Marco Rubio and Kelly Ayotte.

1 August, 2011
US Department issues draft regulation on mandatory contraception coverage

The US Department of Health and Human Services has issued an interim regulation that will enact the recommendation of the Institute of Medicine that contraception and sterilization must be offered in health insurance plans provided by employers, without charge to employees. The public will have 60 days to respond to the draft before it is finalized.[HHS news release]


30 July, 2011
Anti-RH bill rally in Philippines

The Catholic diocese of Pagadian and Human Life International organized a rally against the proposed Reproductive Health Bill. About 8000 people attended the event in the city's public plaza. [CBCP News] The rally demonstrates the controversial nature of the bill and the likelihood of conflicts of conscience among health care workers if it passes in its present form.

28 July, 2011
Euthanasia-assisted suicide bill in South Australia

Bill No. 88, an amendment to the criminal law in South Australia, will, if passed, make it possible for physicians to provide assisted suicide and euthanasia. In comparison to other euthanasia and assisted suicide bills it is unusual, since it does not propose to legalize either procedure per se. Instead, it provides a series of defences for physicians who are charged for providing euthanasia or assisted suicide. Since the standard of proof in a criminal trial is proof beyond reasonable doubt, the defences would probably lower the likelihood of prosecution as well as conviction. From the perspective of freedom of conscience, this would not adversely affect physicians who object to the procedures, which would technically remain criminal offences. Further: the absence of any kind of approval process that would implicate the medical profession or the state would make it very unlikely that pressure would be brought to bear on objectors by colleagues or the state. Long term consequences are more difficult to predict, since a similar arrangement with respect to abortion following the Bourne case in England eventually proved to be an early step in the legalization of the procedure. Once abortion was legalized in Britain, conscientious objectors to abortion began to experience discrimination and coercion. [See Question of Conscience]

26 July, 2011
Nurses express concern about proposed withdrawal of nutrition/hydration

A nurse supervisor responsible for the care of a minimally conscious woman whose relatives want to stop assisted nutrition and hydration has filed a statement with the Court of Protection in the United Kingdom. The nurse reports that the woman "responds to music and conversation and tries to communicate," and expresses concern that the family does not understand the practical effects of withdrawing food and fluids. The case is the first application in Britain to withdraw food and fluids from a patient who is minimally conscious rather than in a "persistent vegetative state." [Independent] The nurse's statement indicates the potential for conflicts of conscience among health care workers in such situations.

26 July, 2011
Access to Birth Control bill introduced in US Congress

Identical bills have been introduced in the US House of Representatives (HR2659) and US Senate (S1415) that have been described as attacks on freedom of conscience for pharmacists. The bills' recommended "congressional findings" include the clearly erroneous statement that access to contraception "is a protected fundamental right in the United States"; it is not. The "findings" also exclude reference to the potential embryocidal or abortifacient effects of some products that are marketed as contraceptives. However, the bills would not apply to any pharmacy that does not stock contraceptives, so they would have no effect on pharmacies operated by those who object to that line of product. The obligations to facilitate access to such products is imposed only on those who normally provide them. Finally, the obligation to facilitate access lies with the pharmacy, not with individual pharmacists, so the accommodation of objecting pharmacists would still be possible.

25 July, 2011
Catholic opposition to recommendation for contraceptive mandates

The Catholic Medical Association and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, among others, have spoken out against the recommendations that employers should be made to provide health insurance converage for contraception and sterilization. In addition to arguments against contraception per se, they protest that it is offensive to principles of freedom of conscience and religion to compel individuals and denominational institutions to facilitate conduct that they believe to be wrong.[CMA news release] [DiNardo news release] [USCCB news release] [USCCB spokesman] [National Catholic Reporter]

21 July, 2011
Anti-RH bill rally in Philippines

A gathering of about 4,000 Catholic students was held at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila to celebrate the anniversary of the encyclical Humanae Vitae and to oppose the controversial Reproductive Health bill currently being considered by the Philippines Congress. [GMA News] If the bill becomes law in its current form, it is likely to adversely affect health care workers who object to contraception or potentially embryocidal drugs or devices for reasons of conscience.

19 July, 2011
Institute of Medicine recommends mandatory contraception insurance coverage

An American organization, the Institute of Medicine, has issued a report (Clinical Preventive Services for Women: Closing the Gaps) that recommends that "the full range of Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counselling for women with reproductive capacity" be provided by insurance plans by employers without charge to their employees. The basis for the recommendation is the American health care reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, which requires that "preventive" medical services be provided without charge to patients. The recommendation will be controversial among those who have moral objections to sterilization and contraception, and among those who are concerned that some products marketed as contraceptives may have embryodical or abortifacient effects, causing the death of an embryo before or after implantation. [Fox News]

18 July, 2011
Survey of attitudes about conscientious objection in United Kingdom

A survey of 733 students in four medical schools in the United Kindgom (Cardiff University, King's college London, Leeds University and St George's University of London) has disclosed that almost half believe that physicians should be allowed to refuse to perform procedures to which they object for moral, cultural or religious reasons. For some respondents, this included treating someone who is drunk or high on drugs. A significant number of the students would not perform abortions after 24 weeks, nor because of failed contraception. This elicited the concern from various quarters about what is perceived as a growing unwillingness of physicians to provide abortions.[Sophie L.M. Strickland, Conscientious objection in medical students: a questionnaire survey. J Med Ethics doi:10.1136/jme.2011.042770] [The Guardian] [The Telegraph] The study warrants attention, because to extend grounds for objection to non-moral reasons (culture) and to what could be distaste or difficulty (drug or alcohol intoxicated patients) is not justifiable. Ultimately, such attitudes are likely to undermine public support for freedom of conscience for health care workers.

14 July, 2011
Spanish group protests changes to medical code of ethics

The National Association for the Defense of the Right to Conscientious Objection (La Asociación Nacional Para La Defensa Del Derecho de Objeción de Consciencia) in Spain is protesting what it describes as the secretive manner in which the country's Collegial Medical Organization adopted changes to its code of ethics. According to the Association, the changes, which may adversely affect conscientious objectors to abortion, were not to be discussed until September.[CNA]

12 July, 2011
Workplace prejudice against Christians in the United Kingdom

Britain's Equality and Human Rights Commission is supporting four Christians who have brought religious discrimination cases to the European Court of Human Rights. According tothe Commission, judges in the United Kingdom have failed to interpret the law broadly enough when dealing with Christian victims of religious discrimination. The Commission is urging a policy of accommodation of relgious belief. Meanwhile, the Church of England General Synod has been told that some employers consider any manifestation of religious belief offensive, and that Christians find work environments increasingly difficult. [Christian Today]

6 July, 2011
President Obama petitioned to restore conscience protections

The Christian Medical Association (CMA) has sent a petition with over 61,000 signatures to President Barack Obama in support of freedom of conscience in health care. In the accompanying letter, Dr. David Stevens, CEO of the Association, noted that the Obama administration had "gutted" a federal protection of conscience regulation, but, nonetheless, asked the President to "consider the voices and values of these many Americans and (a) restore a strong conscience-protecting regulation and (b) support and sign into law strong conscience-protecting legislation." [CMA news release]

4 July, 2011
Abortion statistics released in United Kingdom

As a result of a court case, the Department of Health has released statistics on eugenic abortion for England and Wales covering a nine year period, from 2002 to 2010, disclosing the reasons for the procedure. The figures disclosed that an average of 1,942 eugenic abortions were performed each year (about five per day); an average of 132 were performed each year after 24 weeks gestation (between two and three per week). [BBC News] Specific moral controversies are generated by eugenic abortion and late term abortion and may give rise to conflicts of conscience among health care workers.