Obama and the Bush Conscience Regulations

christian.jpgPRO-CHOICE NOT TO PARTICIPATE IN ABORTIONS

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Most are aware that the Obama administration has taken aim at conscience regulations passed in the waning days of the Bush administration protecting health care workers from participating in abortions and sterilizations.  Some however might be confused as to the precise nature of the new administration’s initiative.  I want to clarify the salient points of that initiative and invite everyone who reads this brief to contact the White House and urge it to defend and not weaken conscience laws in the U.S.

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OF PRESIDENTS AND CULTURE WARS: FOCA AND AMERICA’S “NEW DAY”

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“THERE ARE MANY OF GOOD WILL WHO DO NOT SHARE MY VIEW ON THE ISSUE OF CHOICE.  ON THIS FUNDAMENTAL ISSUE, I WILL NOT YIELD AND PLANNED PARENTHOOD WILL NOT YIELD…  WHEN THE REAL WAR IS BEING FOUGHT ABROAD, THEY WOULD HAVE US FIGHT ‘CULTURE WARS’ HERE AT HOME.  BUT I AM ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED THAT CULTURE WARS ARE JUST SO 90S.  THEIR DAYS ARE GROWING DARK.  IT IS TIME TO TURN THE PAGE. WE WANT A NEW DAY HERE IN AMERICA.  WE’RE TIRED ABOUT ARGUING ABOUT THE SAME OLD STUFF… THE FIRST THING I’D DO AS PRESIDENT IS SIGN THE FREEDOM OF CHOICE ACT.” 

 

(BARACK OBAMA, ADDRESS TO PLANNED PARENTHOOD, JULY 2007)

When the term “culture” is brought up people’s eyes glaze over.  The term is abstract and often provides a screen for pontificating on a subject of one’s private interest.  But there are few realities more universally relevant to human beings and more central to shaping people’s well-being than culture. Read

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On the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Are We Truly Seeking to Prote

On December 10, 1948, in the immediate aftermath of the horror and carnage of World War II, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), a document affirming the dignity and rights of all human beings.  What has been described by some as a “Magna Carta for all humanity” has been translated into more than 200 languages and remains one of the best known and most often cited human rights documents in the world. Read

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Review of “Render Unto Caesar:Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life”

render_unto.jpgChaput, Charles J., O.F.M. Cap., Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life. New York: Doubleday, 2008. 258 pp.

This timely book by the Archbishop of Denver is of crucial importance for all American Catholics, who should all be struggling to combat the “culture of death” and develop the “culture of life.” One of his major reasons for writing the book was that he was becoming increasingly tired “of the church and her people being told to be quiet on public issues that urgently concern us” (p. 3). He wrote it to challenge “all of us who call ourselves Catholic…to recover what it really means to be ‘Catholic.’…[and] to find again the courage to be Catholic Christians first—not in opposition to our country, but to serve its best interests” (p. 7). Although speaking as an American Catholic to American Catholics, he hopes “many other people of good heart will see the importance of these issues and find value in these pages” (pp. 6-7).

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Healthcare Rights of Conscience: A Hotbed of Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Action in 2008

aul_logo.jpg Most state legislative sessions have ended for 2008, and the results in the area of rights of conscience are fairly depressing.  A disturbing 60 percent of all conscience-related bills considered this year were compulsion bills.  In other words, these were not bills aimed at protecting the conscientious and moral beliefs of healthcare providers; instead, these were bills aimed at forcing pharmacists and other healthcare providers to provide drugs and treatments contrary to their moral beliefs.
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The Freedom of Choice Act: Imposing and Unregulated Abortion on Americans

 
denise_m_burke.jpg“[T]he first thing I will do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act.”
Senator and Presidential Candidate Barack Obama
July 17, 2007, Address to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund

Just over a year ago, the public debate over abortion was irrevocably altered.  In the landmark Gonzales v. Carhart decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal ban on partial-birth abortion and, more importantly, abdicated, at least in part, its role as the “National Abortion Control Board.”

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A Matter of Conscience

christianbrugger.jpgPro-abortion groups have attacked the Bush administration for purportedly drafting federal regulations which they say will end up restricting women’s so-called reproductive rights.  A draft proposal by the Department of Health and Human Services was apparently leaked to the New York Times and reported on July 15 under the provocative title “Abortion Proposal Sets Condition on Aid.”  The draft purportedly proposes to establish federal regulations for guiding the implementation and enforcement of laws protecting rights of conscience in health care.  The draft concerns only federal regulations enforcing existing statues, no new legislation.  Several conscience laws are already on the books.  The most significant is the Hyde-Weldon provision.  Under the leadership of pro-life Reps. Henry Hyde, of Illinois and Dave Weldon, of Florida, Congress in 2004 attached tough language to an appropriations bill forbidding federal funds to any institution that discriminates against an individual or health care entity that “does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer abortions.”  The language has survived four consecutive appropriations bills.  Read

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