The president of the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference said pro-lifers should be unrelenting in their call for the government to expand conscience protections for people and groups that oppose abortion.
The New Boston Post reports that Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, who also heads the Archdiocese of Louisville, Ky., recently expressed his grave concerned about conscience protections in the U.S.
“The principle at stake is whether people of faith and others who oppose abortion and abortion coverage should be compelled to participate in them,” Kurtz said. “We will continue to reach out to the White House and Congressional leaders untiringly until proper protections are guaranteed.”
Kurts said he was disappointed that the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA) was not included in the 2016 federal funding bill. The legislation would protect health care entities and employees who refuse to participate in abortion from discrimination by state, local and federal government agencies.
“I am deeply concerned that a foundational principle that has received long-standing, bipartisan support in the past has suddenly become partisan. No one should be forced by the government to actively participate in what they believe to be the taking of an innocent life,” Kurtz said.
Some Americans are being forced to violate their consciences. In an Oct. 25 primer, the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities explained the need for stronger conscience protections, according to the report. They gave several examples of when employees were coerced to violate their consciences. In a 2009 case, a New York hospital nurse named Cathy DeCarlo was forced to dismember a 22-week-old unborn child in an abortion, the report states.
The primer also mentioned a disturbing new California state government order that forces pro-life and religious organizations to include unlimited abortion coverage in their employee health care plans, the report states.
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LifeNews also recently reported the story of a Washington State family who is fighting to overturn state regulations that force pharmacists to disperse abortion-causing drugs. Earlier this week, the family and two female pharmacists asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the law from forcing them to violate their religious beliefs.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to hear another discrimination case involving the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic religious order. The Little Sisters are being forced to comply with the Obamacare abortion mandate, which demands that their employee health insurance policies include free access to contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. Without relief, the Little Sisters would face millions of dollars in IRS fines.
Archbishop Kurts said ANDA is a step in the right direction toward ensuring religious freedom and conscience protections in America.
“Many Catholic and other institutions, including those that provide health care and other human services to the poor and vulnerable, have joined in our support of ANDA,” the archbishop said. “Without ANDA, these caring organizations face legal threats to their very existence, as they lack clear and enforceable protection for their freedom to serve the needy in accord with their deepest moral convictions on respect for human life.”