Medical Professionals Ask Obama to Keep Abortion Conscience Protections

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 19, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Medical Professionals Ask Obama to Keep Abortion Conscience Protections

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 19
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Several medical professionals have recorded new videos that are being sent to the Obama administration asking President Barack Obama to keep abortion conscience protections in place. Obama is considering rescinding the additional protections President Bush gave medical staff.

The doctor, nurse, and two medical students are giving their testimonials on the importance of conscience protection in the medical field in four new videos.

They are part of the effort the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is organizing urging Catholics to tell the Obama Administration to retain Health and Human Services regulations.

Giving her testimonial in English and in Spanish, Sally Sanchez, R.N. of Provena Mercy Medical Center in Aurora, Illinois said she can be a better nurse because of the protections.

“As part of our every action, I have to make a decision. Here I draw on my education, my life’s experience and my conscience," she said. “If our government will not respect my right to follow my conscience, I can’t be the kind of professional you want at your bedside.”

Myles Sheehan, M.D., who practices internal medicine and geriatrics, speaks in the video on the responsibilities of his field, noting that he and his colleagues “hold the extraordinary power of medicine in our hands.”

“We depend on our conscience for guidance as we work with our patients. For years, our government has recognized the importance of protecting conscience in a democratic society, especially in the field of medicine where human lives hang in the balance,” said Dr. Sheehan, who is also a Jesuit priest.

Medical students Michael and Kathryn Redinger of the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University in Chicago mentioned the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm to their patients.

“We’ll rely on conscience so we never violate this oath,” said Kathryn.

Obama has proposed removing the protections that provided better enforcement for existing conscience laws for medical professionals.

The Bush administration put the protections in place after learning that medical centers and staff were facing increasing pressure to be involved in abortions despite three federal laws prohibiting such discrimination.

The USCCB and other pro-life groups are urging pro-life advocates to respond to the proposal and the deadline for sending comments about the Obama administration’s proposal to revoke conscience protections for medical professionals is April 9.

They have a established a new web site,, that makes it easier for pro-life advocates to respond to the decision.

You can express your opposition to the Obama proposal by emailing [email protected]. Comments may be submitted electronically on the Web site (by entering 0991-AB49 in the search box).

And 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.

The Bush conscience rules were intended to educate those in the medical field as well as the general public about the rights of medical personnel to treat their patients in accordance with their conscience free from discrimination or intimidation.

They also give health care professionals recourse to the HHS Office of Civil Rights and a way to press charges in the event they experience discrimination.

These videos can be found along with other USCCB pro-life resources and a link to contacting Health and Human Services at

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