Rob Stein of the Washington Post writes Thursday that a Bush administration proposal aimed at protecting conscientious health care workers from having to be involved in abortion and the distribution of abortifacient drugs, has escalated a bitter debate over the balance between religious freedom and a patient’s rights.
Protecting the Conscience Rights of Health Care Workers
The Health and Human Services department, Stein points out, is reviewing a draft of a regulation that would deny federal funds to any health plan that doesn’t allow employees to opt out of ‘care’ that is contrary to their moral convictions, including providing birth control pill, ’emergency contraception’ and intrauterine devices.
While conservatives welcome the initiative to safeguard doctors, nurses and other health workers from having to cooperate in delivering services they find immoral, family planning advocates and other liberals say such protection would harm abortion bound women and those seeking drugs and devices to avoid pregnancy. Furthermore, liberals fear that protecting medics from distributing abortifacient ‘contraceptives’ will establish the scientific fact that human life begins at fertilization.
This would define abortion in federal regulations as anything that destroys a fertilized egg. The Bush administration is being accused by some officials of the National Institutes of Health of politicizing science to advance its ideological goals.
Susan Wood of George Washington University, who quit the Food and Drug Administration when it did not prescribe over-the-counter use of the abortifacient Plan B quickly enough, says the administration is manipulating the definition of ‘abortion.’ Other pro-aborts say allowing a conscience clause will inhibit stem cell research, damage infertility research and maybe even stifle cancer research.
Liberals are urging HHS secretary Mike Leavitt to scrap the proposal to allow conscientious health care personnel to follow their consciences. The proposal stems from many complaints HHS has received from media personnel required by new laws to adopt health plans that pay for contraception, from pharmacists forced to fill prescriptions for abortifacient birth control, and from hospitals forced to offer Plan B to rape victims.
Contraception Ban No “Bitter Pill”
In answer to an ultra-liberal Tribune column by Robert McClory July 27 berating Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae, Chicago Doctor Sean P. Tierney writes that McClory’s ‘Contraception ban remains a bitter pill’ misses the point.
Paul VI was instructing Catholics on the meaning of life while society was in the middle of a sexual revolution. His message, that all life is sacred from conception to natural death, is an eternal verity stemming from the Natural Law, a law McClory seems to have small regard for.
Tierney says it’s ironic that abortion on demand was legalized on the heels of Humanae Vitae, demeaning human life across the board and allowing for euthanasia and assisted suicide. But he says the Catholic Church’s upholding of its dogma has kept it strong for 2,000 years. Tierney also points out that if only 5% of America’s Catholics support Humanae Vitae that’s still 3.3 million people.
Paul was attempting to stem the tide of divorce, pornography and abortion—all of which have flooded the world. Tierney ends on a positive note when he alludes to the gathering of 400,000 young adult Catholics in Australia for World Youth Day—they are receiving the message of Humanae Vitae with vigor and fortitude, a portent of the future.
Thanks, Doc, we needed that.
Money Slated for WIC Ending Up at Planned Parenthood
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has discovered that a chunk of the $5 billion taxpayer dollars designated for the WIC program for needy women, infants and children to buy food and health care, is going to Planned Parenthood via a PP link on WIC’s web, leading women to the country’s largest abortion provider. The WIC program is sponsored through the Department of Agriculture. More grist for our Planned Parenthood Summit September 18.