Tanzanian bill proposes to enforce ‘access to reproductive health services’

A Bill to Enact the Safe Motherhood Law (2012) will be proposed in Tanzania in February for the purpose of enforcing ‘rights to access reproductive health care,’ a term frequently associated with suppression of freedom of conscience among health care workers.  It is reported to include sections dealing with contraceptives and family planning, maternal and new-born health, sexual and reproductive health of adolescents, abortion, and “enforcement mechanisms.” [All Africa]


No Hospitality: The Unborn and the ACLU

Commentary #020308 – 03/08/2002
Reproduced with permission

Charles Colson

Few, if any, organizations in the world promote abortion as zealously as the American Civil Liberties Union. Now it’s training its guns on hospitals.

A new ACLU report recently released complains that access to abortions is “increasingly jeopardized by the imposition of religious beliefs in the health care context.”

This deceptive language suggests that a Catholic or Baptist or Presbyterian hospital is “imposing” its beliefs on a woman by refusing to kill her unborn child. “No,” is equated with “imposing.” Well, the fact is that it’s the ACLU that would impose its zeal for killing the unborn on those who disagree.

Naturally the report doesn’t quite say it that way. The ACLU website  says, “It is often . . . appropriate to accommodate an individual health professional’s refusal to provide a service . . . ”

That sounds good, but read the fine print. It goes on to say “but only if the patient is ensured safe, timely, and feasible alternative access to treatment” — which means that if the woman can’t get an abortion nearby, medical personnel at a religious hospital have to perform it even though it is against their deepest convictions.

While the report concedes that an individual might be excused, it concedes nothing to the institution. The report states that hospitals  “operating in the public world and serving and employing a religiously diverse population . . . ought to play by public rules.” To do otherwise is viewed as a violation of  “reproductive rights” and a failure “to provide basic health care.”

But wait a minute — Public Rule number 1 is the First Amendment, guaranteeing the free exercise of religion. Clearly the ACLU and theabortion industry want to eviscerate the exercise of religious conviction in faith-based medical centers.

Christians and other people of compassion have established hospitals to heal the sick and care for the dying. They’re motivated by a concern for the ill — and also by the desire to obey God. The Scriptures command, “Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13).  The ministry of “hospitality” means gracious, tender care for friend and stranger alike.

Hospitality does not mean doing anything and everything to please a guest. If a friend comes over asking for a gun to kill himself, we invite him in, comfort him, and encourage him to choose life. We don’t give him what he wants; rather we give him what he needs. In the same way, we don’t kill an unborn child because the child’s mother says he or she is unwanted.

I am thrilled that President Bush has reiterated his commitment to faith-based institutions, both in his State of the Union address and  in his recent message to Congress with a new faith-based bill.  Religious hospitals are one more good example of faith-based solutions that get the job done. And these hospitals need to be protected by law.

A pregnant woman and her child deserve real hospitality that affirms life and gives them wise counsel. And hospitals must remain free to minister in the name of Christ. It’s a shame the ACLU can’t practice a little hospitality toward these ministries of compassion.

Copyright (c)  2002          Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with permission. “BreakPoint with Chuck Colson” is a radio ministry of Prison Fellowship Ministries.

Reproductive health services and the law and ethics of conscientious objection

Med Law. 2001;20(2):283-93. Review. PubMed PMID: 11495210.

Bernard M. Dickens


Reproductive health services address contraception, sterilization and abortion, and new technologies such as gamete selection and manipulation, in vitro fertilization and surrogate motherhood. Artificial fertility control and medically assisted reproduction are opposed by conservative religions and philosophies, whose adherents may object to participation. Physicians’ conscientious objection to non-lifesaving interventions in pregnancy have long been accepted. Nurses’ claims are less recognized, allowing nonparticipation in abortions but not refusal of patient preparation and aftercare. Objections of others in health-related activities, such as serving meals to abortion patients and typing abortion referral letters, have been disallowed. Pharmacists may claim refusal rights over fulfilling prescriptions for emergency (post-coital) contraceptives and drugs for medical (i.e. non-surgical) abortion. This paper addresses limits to conscientious objection to participation in reproductive health services, and conditions to which rights of objection may be subject. Individuals have human rights to freedom of religious conscience, but institutions, as artificial legal persons, may not claim this right. [Full Text]