Abortion debate: Woman told she’s ‘immoral and risking hellfire’

New Zealand Herald

Emma Russell

A woman left her general practice in tears after a doctor told her she was “immoral and risking hellfire” for seeking an abortion. Discreetly, the female receptionist rushed after the woman and slipped her a card for a doctor who could help her.

Another woman visited three different doctors for an abortion – and each time was shown the door. . . [Full text]

Coalition Offended and Displeased with Recent Comments Attacking Conscience Rights

News Release

Christian Medical Association

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2019 /Standard Newswire/ — Today, a coalition of medical organizations released a public statement condemning recent statements on abortion and conscience protections made by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Osteopathic Association. The letter calls on this “Group of Six” to respect their position and represent all physician members in their public statements.

The coalition asserts in their statement to not use the “sanctity of the patient-physician relationship” as an excuse to passively ignore or actively reject the sanctity of human life, from conception to natural death. Furthermore, they encouraged their primary care colleagues to recognize the inherent right to life of all human persons, regardless of age, stage of development, physical or mental ability, physical location, state of dependency or the subjective designation of “being desired.” The coalition is calling for better and more equitable healthcare for all vulnerable populations, including improved access to maternal and fetal healthcare, and improvement on social determinants of health.

The coalition is made up of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Pediatricians, Catholic Medical Association, Christian Medical Association, Coptic Medical Association, National Association of Catholic Nurses and The National Catholic Bioethics Center.

Executive Director of American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) Donna Harrison, MD, said, “The Hippocratic Oath forbids both abortion and euthanasia. Neither the Group of Six nor any other group can force a physician to violate the Hippocratic Oath on which the doctor patient covenant is founded.”

Executive Director of American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) Michelle Cretella, MD, said “Americans need to realize that the Group of Six do not represent physicians who take an oath to first do no harm in the tradition of Hippocrates. The Hippocratic Oath logically forbids the intentional killing of human life from conception to natural death. Death is not a state of health; killing is not caring. Abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia are not health care.”

Chief Executive Officer of Christian Medical Association (CMA) David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics), said, “Physicians are leaving these medical professional organizations because they no longer represent their worldview. The coalition’s letter will only encourage efforts to force life-honoring professionals out of healthcare to the detriment of our healthcare system and, more importantly, our patients. Pro-life patients want a pro-life physician.”

Senior Fellow of The National Catholic Bioethics Center Marie Hilliard said, “It is important to always recognize when considering the perinatal provider-patient relationship that there are two patients whose best interest we are charged in enhancing. Abortion violates that obligation.”

President of National Association of Catholic Nurses, U.S.A. Diane Ruzicka, RN, MSN, said, “Physicians and nurses have a sacred responsibility to preserve and protect life. This was well known by the pagan Greek physician Hippocrates (430-370BC) credited with composing the Hippocratic Oath in which he stated, ‘I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.’ Translated by Michael North, National Library of Medicine, 2002.

“The natural moral law informs us that civilized societies do not kill their young.

“As a society founded on the natural moral law and Christian principles, the Bible which is the Word of God consigned to writing, reveals how precious is man:

  1. ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you….’ — God to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:5
     
  2. ‘Does a woman forget her baby at the breast, or fail to cherish the son of her womb? Yet even if these forget, I will never forget you.’ — God to Isaiah in Isaiah 49:15  
  3. Lastly, it was the unborn baby in the womb of Elizabeth who first recognized Jesus, the Savior of the world, in the womb of Mary. At six months gestation John the Baptist recognizes the newly conceived Jesus, God incarnate, the Word of God made flesh, in His mother’s womb. — Luke 1:41

“Human life is precious and of immense dignity. Physicians and nurses have a sacred duty to protect life from conception to the time of death ordained by God,” Ruzicka said.

The coalition’s full statement can be viewed here.

SOURCE Christian Medical Association

CONTACT: Margie Shealy, Margie.shealy@cmda.org, 423-844-1047

Hospitals and Health Industry in Limbo After Court Delays Implementation of “Conscience Rule”

Lexology

Duane Morris LLP

Regardless of whether organizations support or oppose the Conscience Rule, it is possible that it will become law on November 22 unless the courts and HHS move with uncharacteristic speed in a highly charged political arena.

Hospitals, health insurers and a variety of other healthcare entities do not have to be ready for a July 22 go-live date for the Trump administration’s “Conscience Rule.” Instead, the federal rule―designed to support health workers who opt out of providing patient care that violates their conscience, moral or religious beliefs―is facing such intense challenge in federal courts that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agreed to a stipulated request to delay the effective date until November 22, 2019. . . [Full text]

‘Reluctant to prescribe’: Local clinic says women wait weeks to access abortion pill

The executive director of the SHORE Centres says many family doctors are still not prescribing the pill

CBC News

Paula Duhatschek

A local sexual health resource centre says it’s experiencing so much demand for the abortion pill, Mifegymiso, that patients often must wait two to three weeks to get it. 

Mifegymiso is the brand name for the combination of two pills that is used to terminate pregnancies—but only up to nine weeks along. . .[Full text]

Bishop calls on Scotland’s first minister to affirm conscience rights of party members

Crux

Charles Collins

LEICESTER, United Kingdom – A Catholic bishop in Scotland is urging the country’s political leadership to affirm freedom of conscience, “and hold in high regard those in public life who remain true to their conscience, even at the expense of personal popularity or political advantage.”

Bishop Hugh Gilbert, the president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, made his comments in a letter to Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. . . [Full text]

Simon Harris tells HSE poor coverage of abortion services in west and north west ‘is a real concern’

thejournal.ie

Gráinne Ní Aodha

MINISTER FOR HEALTH Simon Harris has said that the current provision of abortion services in the north and north west is “a very real concern” and is “not acceptable”.

The minister made the comments during a meeting with the HSE in May about the progress in rolling out abortion services at all of Ireland’s maternity hospitals and units.

Abortion services, as legislated for in the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018, were in place in nine maternity hospitals and units across the country from the 1 January this year. . . .

. . . as it stands, just one more maternity hospital – the Coombe – has also introduced the service, bringing the total to 10 out of 19 maternity hospitals and units. . . . [Full text]

Staff objections delaying full abortion services at Letterkenny University Hospital

Highland Radio

News Highland

The full roll out of termination of early pregnancy services has been prevented at Letterkenny University Hospital because of conscientious objection complications.

It’s one of three hospitals affected nationally with the Department of Health stating that it will be asking the HSE to fully implement abortion services in all maternity hospitals and units by September. . . [Full text]

“Do or Refer” Doctors Are Not Allowed to Use Their Best Judgment for Individual Patients (No More Jeanette Halls)

Choice is an Illusion

Margaret Dore

Yesterday, a doctor asked me about “do or refer” provisions in some of the newer bills seeking to legalize assisted suicide in the United States. For this reason, I now address the subject in the context of a 2018 Wisconsin bill, which did not pass.

The bill, AB 216, required the patient’s attending physician to “fulfill the request for medication or refer,” i.e. to write a lethal prescription for the purpose of killing the patient, or to make an effective referral to another physician, who would do it.

The bill also said that the attending physician’s failure to comply would be “unprofessional conduct” such that the physician would be subject to discipline. The bill states:

[F]ailure of an attending physician to fulfill a request for medication [the lethal dose] constitutes unprofessional conduct if the attending physician refuses or fails to make a good faith attempt to transfer the requester’s care and treatment to another physician who will act as attending physician under this chapter and fulfill the request for medication. (Emphasis added).[1]

The significance of do or refer is that it’s anti-patient, by not allowing doctors to use their best judgment in individual cases.

Consider Oregonian Jeanette Hall. In 2000, she made a settled decision to use Oregon’s assisted suicide law in lieu of being treated for cancer. Her doctor, Kenneth Stevens, who opposed assisted suicide, thought that her chances with treatment were good. Over several weeks, he stalled her request for assisted suicide and finally convinced her to be treated for cancer.

Yes, Dr Stevens was against assisted suicide generally, but he also thought that Jeanette was a good candidate for treatment and indeed she was. She has been cancer free for 19 years. In a recent article, Jeanette states

I wanted to do our law and I wanted Dr. Stevens to help me. Instead, he encouraged me to not give up and ultimately I decided to fight the cancer. I had both chemotherapy and radiation. I am so happy to be alive!

If “do or refer,” as proposed in the Wisconsin bill, had been in effect in Oregon, Dr. Stevens would have been risking a finding of unprofessional conduct, and therefore his license, to help Jeanette understand what her true options were.

Is this what we want for our doctors, to have them be afraid of giving us their best judgment, for fear of sanction or having their licenses restricted or even revoked?  

With proposed mandatory “do or refer,” assisted suicide proponents show us their true nature. They don’t want to enhance our choices, they want to limit our access to information to railroad us to death.

Notes

[1] AB 216 states:

156.21 Duties and immunities. (1) No health care facility or health care provider may be charged with a crime, held civilly liable, or charged with unprofessional conduct for any of the following:  

(a) Failing to fulfill a request for medication, except that failure of an attending physician to fulfill a request for medication constitutes unprofessional conduct if the attending physician refuses or fails to make a good faith attempt to transfer the requester’s care and treatment to another physician who will act as attending physician under this chapter and fulfill the request for medication. (Emphasis added).

Margaret Dore is an attorney in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal. She is also president of Choice is an Illusion, a nonprofit corporation opposed to assisted suicide and euthanasia worldwide.

Conscientious objection prevents full rollout of abortion services in several maternity hospitals

The Health Department said it will be asking the HSE to fully implement abortion services in all maternity hospitals and units by September.

TheJournal.ie

Gráinne Ní Aodha

THE FULL ROLLOUT of termination of early pregnancy services has been prevented in at least three maternity hospitals because of conscientious objection complications, documents seen by TheJournal.ie show.

Following the Eighth Amendment referendum last year, Health Minister Simon Harris gave 1 January as the date by which abortion services for pregnancies at 12 weeks or under would be provided. . .

. . . The rollout of full abortion services has been slower than expected: although there is some level of abortion services available in all maternity hospitals, just ten out of 19 maternity hospitals or units offer full termination of pregnancy services. . . . [Full text]

Irish obstetrician defies health minister

“I will not be forced and bullied by politicians or by the media into performing or facilitating abortions”

Sean Murphy*

Speaking at the All-Ireland Rally for Life, Dr. Trevor Hayes, an obstetrician at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny, said that he and three consultant colleagues at the hospital advised the HSE (Irish Health Services) that they would not peform abortions.

“A great number of my colleagues are unwilling to perform surgical abortions,” he said, “and they say they will not be forced to carry out this life ending procedure”

[The politicians] want to force doctors like me to do so, and that’s not going to happen.

Would the GPs who are attacking pro-life obstetricians on Twitter perform a late-term surgical abortion? Again, I suspect most of them would not. So why are they trying to force other people to be involved in something so repugnant to those of us who adhere to the first principle of medicine, which is “do no harm”?

Shame on them for failing to respect conscientious rights of their colleagues in medicine.  But we won’t be bullied by them either.