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By Tom Grenchik
Millions of Americans are deeply concerned about abortion. And tens of thousands of health care professionals do not want to be forced to participate in abortion in any way. Yet everywhere you look, great pressure is being exerted on individuals and institutions to cooperate in abortion.
It would seem that our current Administration is anything but "pro-choice" on abortion. It's not enough that abortion is sometimes funded with our taxes. It's not enough to insist on forcing coverage of abortifacient drugs and devices in health plans, even for the Little Sisters of the Poor. They want every health care provider and every institution, Catholic or otherwise, to perform or refer for abortions.
So while Americans, especially young people, are growing more and more in respect for unborn children, the Administration wants to force even the most unwilling "accomplices" to violate their consciences.
Federal laws protecting conscientious objection to abortion have been approved for decades by legislators and presidents of both major political parties. But current laws are legally vulnerable, have loopholes limiting their effectiveness, and in this Administration are seldom enforced.
Take the case of Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo, R.N., who was forced by her employer to participate in a late-term abortion against her deeply-held beliefs. Threatened with losing her job and even her nursing license, she had to be present for the bloody dismemberment of an unborn child and then account for all the body parts. That was a major violation of her conscience rights. She then found she had no right to go to court to keep this from happening to others. Watch her story, Stand with Cathy for Conscience Rights on YouTube, and share it with your friends & social networks.
For years the Catholic Bishops have asked Congress to reform federal laws on conscience rights, especially to protect individual and institutional health care providers who object to abortion – good citizens like Cathy DeCarlo.
Like Cathy, most medical professionals want nothing to do with abortion. They need Congress to pass sensible legislation like the Conscience Protection Act of 2016 (H.R. 4828/S. 2927). Over two dozen pro-life and medical organizations have already joined the bishops in urging Congress to do so. We need as many pro-life people as possible from across the country to send e-mail messages to their elected representatives, urging them to support the Conscience Protection Act.
Nurses like Cathy need your support. To help out, please:
The Conscience Protection Act would be an enormous step forward in assuring that Americans who serve the sick and needy can do so without being forced by government to violate their most deeply held convictions on respect for innocent human life. For more information about the need to protect conscience rights, visit www.usccb.org/conscience.
Let us pray that Congress will have the courage to move this sensible legislation forward.
Tom Grenchik is Executive Director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Visit www.usccb.org/conscience to learn more about the bishops' efforts on protecting conscience rights.
Join the bishops' Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage & Religious Liberty. Visit www.usccb.org/pray or text FAST to 55000. Join the Movement!
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