Catholic Leader Urges President Obama to Keep Protections for Pro-Life Doctors

National   Steven Ertelt   Mar 17, 2009   |   9:00AM    WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Leader Urges President Obama to Keep Protections for Pro-Life Doctors

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 17
, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A representative of the nation’s Catholic bishops is asking President Barack Obama not to rescind the protections the Bush administration put in place for pro-life doctors and medical centers. Obama has given the public 30 days to respond to his proposal to revoke them.

The protections provide better enforcement for three existing federal laws that make it so medical professionals and facilities don’t have to be involved in abortions.

Cardinal Francis George, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is asking Obama to not follow through on his proposal to rescind the protections and he is asking pro-life advocates to send the president the same message.

This is vital to keep the government from “moving our country from democracy to despotism,” he told LifeNews.com in a statement.

“Respect for personal conscience and freedom of religion as such ensures our basic freedom from government oppression. No government should come between an individual person and God — that’s what America is supposed to be about,” Cardinal Francis George said.

“This is the true common ground for us as Americans. We therefore need legal protection for freedom of conscience and of religion — including freedom for religious health care institutions to be true to themselves," he added.

He said he wants pro-life advocates to "let the government know that you want conscience protections to remain strongly in place."

"In particular, let the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington know that you stand for the protection of conscience, especially now for those who provide the health care services so necessary for a good society,” he said.

George concluded: "Why shouldn’t our government and our legal system permit conscientious objection to a morally bad action, the killing of babies in their mother’s womb? People understand what really happens in an abortion and in related procedures — a living member of the human family is killed — that’s what it’s all about — and no one should be forced by the government to act as though he or she were blind to this reality."

The Bush administration put the rules in place to require a written agreement to follow the conscience laws and gave victims better access to federal employment discrimination agencies to consider legal action if their rights were violated.

Relying on claims from leading pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood, Obama instructed his administration to overturn the new rules.

Abortion advocates claim the protections make it so women will not have full access to birth control.

The Obama administration published its proposal and provided an email address the public could use to comment on his plan to dump the rule. Pro-life advocates can express their opposition to the Obama proposal by emailing proposedrescission@hhs.gov. The deadline for submitting comments is April 9.

Comments may be submitted electronically on the Web site www.Regulations.gov (by entering 0991-AB49 in the search box).

By mail, one original and two copies of written comments may be sent to: Office of Public Health and Science, Department of Health and Human Services, Attention: Rescission Proposal Comments, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Ave. SW, Room 716G, Washington, DC 20201.

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