American Nurses’ Association drafts policy against euthanasia and assisted sucide

The American Nurses’ Association has offered a draft policy document for public input until 8 November.  The position statement opposes nurse participation in euthanasia and assisted suicide.  Some of those opposed to the procedures remain concerned that the draft statement equates the provision of food and fluids with medical treatment that can be withdrawn from patients even if they are not dying.  [Lifesite News]

Freedom of conscience advocated for non-objecting health care workers

Elizabeth Sepper of Washington University in St. Louis is among those now claiming that protection of conscience laws and policies are neglecting those who provide morally contentious services despite opposition from employers or other authorities.  The forthcoming issue of the Virginia Law Review will include a paper by Sepper, “Taking Conscience Seriously,” that makes this argument. Last month, the New England Journal of Medicine published a column by an abortion provider taking the same position (see Physicians who provide abortion, assisted suicide need conscience protection.) Of particular note, citing Catholic hospitals and contraception, she asserts that individual health care workers at denominational hospitals may be denied freedom of conscience by their employers.  [ScienceDaily]


American Academy of Family Physicians supports freedom of conscience

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) passed a resolution at a meeting in Philadelphia supporting freedom of conscience for physicians.  Resolution 507 (Physician Conscience Protection Rights) was proposed by the Florida chapter as a result of concerns about freedom of conscience generated by federal health care reforms.  The Congress of Delegates agreed that hysicians should be able to practise in accordance with their conscientious convictions, “without resulting in loss of licensure or significant financial penalty.”  Current policy of the organization is that physicians who are “uncomfortable” providing contraception should refer patients to colleagues willing to provide “the education and/or service.”  [MedPage Today]


Substitute RH bill in circulation

A new version of the controversial Reproductive Health bill is being circulated among Filipino lawmakers.  The substitute bill, proposed by the sponsor of the original bill, is reported to include a number of changes responsive to concerns of the bill’s opponents.  Some of the proposed changes deals with sections of the bill that could have an adverse impact on health care workers opposed to some birth control methods for reasons of conscience.  The bill’s author is now prepared to remove the provision that threatens objectors with prosecution if they speak out, and to exempt denominational hospitals from a requirement to provide services that contravene their religious ethos. [Inquirer]

Serious mistake made in diagnosing death before organ transplantation

A 19 year old girl who was seriously injured in a car crash in October, 2011, narrowly escaped having vital organs removed for transplant following what appears to have been a misdiagnosis by attending physicians.  After consulting with the family, they removed a respirator and ceased treatment. However, the girl regained consciousness as they were preparing to harvest her organs. [Medical Daily]

Abortion described as a “right”

In a commentary on CBC Radio, Canada’s publicly funded state broadcaster, Prince Edward Island University professor Richard Raiswell  asserted that “abortion is a medically necessary, essential health care service” and insisted that all Canadian women have a “right” to the service.  Since the province does not provide abortion on the island, Raiswell argues that women who have to leave the island to obtain the procedure “are being denied access to safe medical care.”  He suggested that that is illegal. [CBC Radio]

Over 100 plaintiffs in lawsuits against U.S. government birth control mandate

The Becket Fund reports that more than 100 plaintiffs have now joined lawsuits against the federal government as a result of an administration regulation that forces employers to provide insurance for birth control and sterilization even if they object for reasons of conscience. [Becket Fund HHS Page]


Ethicist supports “positive” eugenics: likens current practice to Nazi policies

Julian Savulescu, an ethicist at the University of Oxford, argues that the current practice of using prenatal screening and abortion to eliminate embryos suspected of having disabilities or diseases is akin to Nazi eugenic policies, which were also directed at eliminating the ‘unfit.’  He supports the use of prenatal testing to identify and destroy embryos with disease or disabilities as long as it is understood that this implies nothing about the moral status of disabled people, but argues that people should also be able to select for desirable characteristics, like intelligence or sex.  His position is that “freedom of reproduction” can be restricted “for social purposes,” but only if the purposes are “uncontroversially good,” the restrictions are necessary, and that no less restrictive policies would be workable. [News Limited]

Support access to health care? Protect conscience rights.

 Catholic Organizations Respond to HHS “Preventive Services” Mandate

Original Poster Ad

We, the undersigned, strongly support access to life-affirming health care for all, and the ability of secular and religious groups and individuals to provide and receive such care. That is why we have raised objections to a rule issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services forcing almost all private health plans to cover sterilization procedures and contraceptive drugs, including drugs that may cause an early abortion.

As written, the rule will force Catholic organizations that play a vital role in providing health care and other needed services either to violate their conscience or severely curtail those services. This would harm both religious freedom and access to health care.

The HHS mandate puts many faith-based organizations and individuals in an untenable position. But it also harms society as a whole by undermining a long American tradition of respect for religious liberty and freedom of conscience. In a pluralistic society, our health care system should respect the religious and ethical convictions of all. We ask Congress, the Administration, and our fellow Americans to acknowledge this truth and work with us to reform the law accordingly.

Robert B. Aguirre, President Catholic Association of Latino Leaders

Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight Knights of Columbus

F. DeKarlos Blackmon, OblSB, Supreme Knight/CEO Knights of Peter Claver

William J. Cox, President/CEO Alliance of Catholic Health Care

Michael Galligan-Stierle, PhD, President/CEO Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities

John Garvey, JD, President The Catholic University of America

Sheila Gilbert, President National Council of the U.S. Society of St. Vincent de Paul

John M. Haas, PhD, STL, President National Catholic Bioethics Center

Ken Hackett, President Catholic Relief Services

Jan R. Hemstad, MD, President Catholic Medical Association

Rev. John Jenkins, CSC, President University of Notre Dame

Patty Johnson, President National Council of Catholic Women

James G. Lindsay, Executive Director Catholic Volunteer Network

Stephen L. Mikochik, JD, Chair National Catholic Partnership on Disability

Karen M. Ristau, EdD, President National Catholic Educational Association

Geralyn C. Shelvin, Supreme Lady Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary

Rev. Larry Snyder, President Catholic Charities USA

Joanne Tomassi, National Regent Catholic Daughters of the Americas

The Most Rev. José Gomez Archbishop of Los Angeles Chairman , Migration and Refugee Services

The Most Rev. Timothy Dolan Archbishop of New York President United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

UN Human Rights Commission demands suppression of freedom of conscience

The UN Human Rights Commison has issued a document that purports to base the restriction or suppression of freedom of conscience among health care workers on human rights claims.  Technical guidance on the application of a human rights based approach to the implementation of policies and programmes to reduce preventable maternal morbidity and mortality.  Section 30 of the document calls for changing laws and policies that allow conscientious objection “to hinder women’s access to a full range of services.”  Section 61 states that laws, polices and regulations that allow “unregulated conscientious objection” should be changed, and “newly established obligations of providers and rights of individual users should be disseminated.” The resolution was endorsed by New Zealand, Burkina Faso, and Colombia and enumerates access to abortion among “sexual and reproductive health rights.” 20 of the 47 council members opposed the text.  The UN General Assembly will consider adopting it later in October. [CFAM]