Little noticed but with great potential for good was President Barack Obama’s comments at Notre Dame on Sunday May 17 supporting conscience protection for health care workers. This is issue greatly concerns doctors, nurses and other health care workers who want to protect life from conception to death. To learn more about the issue go to http://www.usccb.org/conscienceprotection.
Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, USCCB president, addressed the issue May 22 and expressed gratitude to President Obama and said the Catholic Church would be glad to help the Administration work toward this goal. Here is his statement.
I am grateful for President Obama’s statement on May 17 that we should all “honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion,” and his support for conscience clauses advancing this goal.
Since 1973, federal laws protecting the conscience rights of health care providers have been an important part of our American civil rights tradition. These laws should be fully implemented and enforced. Caring health professionals and institutions should know that their deeply held religious or moral convictions will be respected as they exercise their right to serve patients in need.
Catholic providers, in particular, make a large and essential contribution to health care in our society. Essential steps to protect these conscience rights will strengthen our health care system and enhance many patients’ access to necessary life-affirming care.
A government that wants to reduce the tragic number of abortions in our society will also work to ensure that no one is forced to support or participate in abortion, whether through directly providing or referring for abortions or being forced to subsidize them with their tax dollars. As this discussion continues we look forward to working with the Administration and other policy makers to advance this goal.