By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Catholic League president Bill Donohue is urging the Bush Administration to move quickly to put in place new regulations that protect the conscious rights of health care workers before the radical pro-abortion policies of president-elect Obama administration and Congress make it impossible for Catholic health care facilities to remain open.
The Bush administration has been drafting regulations that would protect the rights of doctors, nurses and health workers from being discriminated against if they refuse to perform or assist in abortions, as well as other morally contentious procedures.
“We urge President Bush to move quickly before the next administration begins,” Donohue writes.
“President-elect Barack Obama has pledged his support for the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), a bill so draconian that it would jeopardize the right of Catholic hospitals and doctors to refuse to perform abortions. Now the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) has sent him a letter calling on him to make good on his pledge.”
The RCRC is a coalition of liberal denominations which include the United Methodist Board of Church and Society and some Jewish groups. They have apparently sent a letter to Obama asking him to sign FOCA and calling upon him to repeal the Hyde amendment, which prohibits federal funds from being used to pay for abortions overseas.
Should Obama decide to make good on his pledge to sign FOCA into law, Donohue warns that it would lead, in the words of one Vatican official, to the “equivalent of a war.”
“To put it differently, were FOCA to become law (it needs to be reintroduced in the House), the culture war that the Vatican official was referring to would come to a boiling point,” Donohue said.
“In practical terms, this would mean the closure of every Catholic hospital in the nation: No bishop is going to stand by and allow the federal government to dictate what medical procedures must be performed in Catholic hospitals. Make no mistake about it, the bishops would shut down Catholic hospitals before acquiescing in the intentional killing of an innocent child. Were this to happen, it would not only cripple the poor, it would cripple the Obama administration.
“It is for reasons like these that the Catholic League urges President Bush to move with dispatch in instituting rules protecting the religious rights of all health care workers. If Obama wants to undo them, it will set up a confrontation he will surely regret.”
Officials at the Health and Human Services Department have said they intend to issue a final version of the new rules within days. Aides and advisers to Obama said he would try to rescind it, a process that could take three to six months.
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