Catholic Bishops Urge Support for Bush Admin Plan to Help Pro-Life Doctors

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 18, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Bishops Urge Support for Bush Admin Plan to Help Pro-Life Doctors

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 18
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — The nation’s Catholic bishops are urging Congress to support a plan put together by the Bush administration to help doctors who don’t want to participate in abortions avoid employment discrimination. The plan also protects health centers that don’t want abortions done on site.

Responding to objections from abortion advocates, Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, sent a letter to members of Congress.

He said the bishops support the proposed HHS regulations protecting health care providers’ fundamental rights of conscience.

Cardinal Rigali called them wrote to all members of Congress defending “efforts to reaffirm and implement laws on conscience protection.”

Pro-abortion organizations and some members of Congress have already attacked the as-yet-unpublished regulations, saying they are unwarranted and could limit “access” to abortion and birth control.

Reacting to these criticisms, Cardinal Rigali said this “should be a matter of agreement among members who call themselves ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’: the freedom of health care providers to serve the public without violating their most deeply held moral and religious convictions on the sanctity of human life.”

“Congress has passed numerous laws protecting rights of conscience in health care, beginning in 1973,” said the Cardinal, and these laws address sterilization and other issues in addition to abortion.

“The critics’ surprise that conscience protection may apply beyond the specific issue of abortion seems based on a lack of knowledge of existing federal law," he explained. "If the Administration is preparing regulations along these lines, it would simply be performing its proper task in an area of law where that is long overdue.”

“This issue,” he said, “provides self-described ‘pro-choice’ advocates with an opportunity to demonstrate their true convictions," he contended.

"[I]s the ‘pro-choice’ label a misleading mask for an agenda of actively promoting and even imposing morally controversial procedures on those who conscientiously hold different views?”

Related web sites:
USCCB Pro-Life Secretariat –

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