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Catholic Senators Kill Conscience Protection Amendment

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer Sixteen Catholic Senators refused to support an amendment to the budget that would have protected the conscience clause for health care workers. The amendment, sponsored by pro-life Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), stated that its intent was “To protect the freedom of conscience for patients and the right of health care providers to serve patients without violating their moral and religious convictions." The amendment was rejected 41-56 on April 2 with sixteen Catholic Senators failing to support it. Had they done so, the rights of conscience for all Americans would have been guaranteed in spite of the Obama Administration’s plans to rescind new HHS rules designed to strengthen enforcement of existing conscience protection laws.   Without these protections, many people with religious beliefs could be forced to take part in professional duties that compromise their moral convictions. Sen. Coburn, who is also an OB/GYN, told CNSNews.com that many doctors like himself are willing to defy the law before agreeing to perform medical procedures that violate their consciences. “I think a lot of us will go to jail,” he said when asked what would happen if the administration reverses the policy. “Let’s see them prosecute the first one of us for not doing that.”   The Catholic Senators who opposed the Coburn amendment were; Begich (D-AK), Dodd (D-CT), Kaufman (D-CT), Durbin (D-IL), Harkin (D-IA), Landrieu (D- LA), Collins (R-ME), Mikulski (D-MD), Kerry (D-MA), McCaskill (D-MO), Menendez (D-NJ), Gillibrand (D-NY), Reed (D-RI), Leahy (D-VT), Cantwell (D-WA), Murray (D-WA). Senator Kennedy did not vote. Nine Catholic Senators voted to support of the Coburn amendment; Murkowski (R-AK), Martinez (R-FL), Risch (R-ID), Brownback (R-KS), Bunning (R-KY), Vitter (R-LA), Johanns(R-NE), Voinovich (R-OH), and Casey (D-PA). This is the third pro-life vote Senator Casey has cast since being publicly admonished by his local ordinary, Bishop Martino. © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly/Women of Grace. http://www.womenofgrace.com

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