Massachusetts Candidate Says Catholic Workers Should Stay Out of Emergency Rooms

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

Revealing how she feels about conscience protection in health care reform, Attorney General Martha Coakley, a Democrat running in a special election to replace Sen. Ed. Kennedy in the U.S. Senate, says Catholics who believe in Church teaching and who value their religious freedom shouldn’t work in an emergency room.

According to a blog appearing on the Washington Times website, Ms. Coakley made these statements during a radio show in which host Ken Pittman asked her about the conscience clause.

Referring to certain practices that workers in health-care environments may not want to participate in because of their religion, such as contraception and blood transfusions, Pittman said: “If you were a Catholic and believe what the Pope teaches, that any form of birth control is a sin, ah, you don’t want to do that.”

“No, we have a seperation of church and state Ken, lets be clear,” Ms. Coakley responded.

But “in the emergency room, you still have your religious freedom,” Pittman countered.

“ . . .uh, eh…um. . . ,” Ms. Coakley stumbled. “The law says that people are allowed to have that. You can have religious freedom but you probably shouldn’t work in the emergency room.

Coakley, a Catholic, said during a speech in September that church and her parish were a big part of her family life. Unfortunately for Catholics, her faith doesn’t appear to get much further than that.

Times blogger Kerry Picket writes: “How can a Massachusetts Senate candidate possibly offend 39 percent of voterse in her state? If it’s Democrat Attorney General Martha Coakley, she would tell devout Catholics not to bother working in an emergency room.”

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