Posts Tagged ‘Conscience Protections’

Word comes this week that Cardinal-elect Timothy Dolan received a telephone call from President Obama stating that the Catholic Church would not receive an exemption from the requirement to purchase contraception for its employees. Cardinal Dolan is less than enthused:

“It’s not about contraception. It’s about the right of conscience.”

“The government doesn’t have the right to butt into the internal governance and teachings of the church. This is not a Catholic issue, it’s an American issue. We’re strong on this issue of conscience, and that’s what’s at stake here.”

“While I appreciate his courtesy Friday morning to give me a call with the somber news, I had to tell him I was terribly let down, disappointed and disturbed.”

Yes, Eminence, it is about conscience where Obama and the Federal Government are concerned, but it’s about much, much more within the Catholic Church.

It’s about the contending issues of fidelity and narcissism that have torn the Church to pieces over the past fifty years, reducing a once-powerful and respected constituency to a laughingstock in many political circles. Obama’s actions and posture toward the Church, even the election of such a man, would have been unthinkable twenty-five years ago. His declaration to Cardinal Dolan was less a declaration of war than the final, sickening realization that we have had the terms of our self-incarceration dictated to us by the man who embodies all that we have become as a people.

In my 51 years, I have witnessed Mass attendance drop to 1/3 of what it was when I was a child. Since my twelfth year of life, we have butchered more than 54 million unborn babies, millions of them in their Catholic mothers’ wombs. My generation advanced the sexual revolution and spread AIDS like wildfire. Yes many of us have repented of our earlier sins and have pursued virtue, but many of us have not properly formed our children out of misplaced guilt and mistaken notions of what constitutes hypocrisy.

I can’t remember EVER hearing a homily on contraception or John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. I can count on two hands the number of homilies I have heard on abortion, and none, NONE on what makes for a sacramental marriage.

For as bad as it has been, the sex abuse scandal has been the LEAST damaging issue for the Church. That was a very small fraction of our priests, less than 4%. Our marriages are in free-fall, our children torn apart by divorce.

At every step of the way, rejection of what the Church teaches has been behind the disintegration. At every step of the way, we have elected increasingly radical politicians. There is a causal relationship in that pattern.

There is no “Catholic Vote.”

Enter Obama and Dolan.

Their contention, and our current condition, could be viewed as presaged by Abraham Lincoln nearly two-hundred years ago:

The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions:
Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois
January 27, 1838

This task of gratitude to our fathers, justice to ourselves, duty to posterity, and love for our species in general, all imperatively require us faithfully to perform.

How then shall we perform it?–At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?– Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!–All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

We are dying by suicide. We are killing our babies by abortion, and now our elderly in increasing numbers through passive and active euthanasia. The preservation of resources and lifestyle are the leading reasons offered up.

Malignant Narcissism and Hedonism.

That there is reason to believe Obama could actually be re-elected indicates we passed the conscience issue long ago. Conscience was determined in our last presidential election. We elected Obama knowing full-well his declared intent.

This election will determine whether or not we’re content with our chains.


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A major victory yesterday for conscience protections. From LifeSite News:

Thu Dec 22 7:53 PM EST

NEWARK, New Jersey, December 22, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a triumph for conscience protections, a New Jersey hospital agreed that nurses will not have to assist with abortions if doing so would violate their moral or religious views.

Twelve nurses filed a lawsuit on October 31 against at the hospital run by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), alleging that the hospital threatened to fire them if they refused to assist in abortions. According to the lawsuit, a supervisor told a nurse in the Same Day Surgery Unit that UMDNJ had “no regard for religious beliefs.”

Forcing a health care professional to participate in an abortion could violate both state and federal law. UMDNJ receives $60 million in federal funding, which protects the consciences of medical staff in some situations. New Jersey state law guarantees, “No person shall be required to perform or assist in the performance of an abortion or sterilization.”

“We are glad that the hospital finally agreed to obey the law and not force our clients to do any work on abortion cases in violation of their beliefs,” Matt Bowman, the attorney who handled the case for the Alliance Defense Fund, stated in an e-mail statement sent to LifeSiteNews.com. “The hospital agreed not to penalize our clients in any way because they choose to not help abortions according to their legal rights.”

The nurses agreed they will briefly assist mothers during a medical emergency, until new staff members who do not object can take their place. The hospital hired four new nurses for these cases. “I’m still scared about the part of them having four nurses brought in and we might become the surpluses,” said Fe Esperanza-Racpan Vinoya, one of the plaintiffs. However, Bowman stated, “the hospital cannot use pro-abortion staff to replace our clients or reduce their hours.”

“The judge warned the hospital that our clients could return to his court if they were assigned to work abortion cases or if the hospital pretextually tries to require the nurses to assist abortions,” Bowman stated.

The hospital notified members of the unit in September that they would undergo abortion training, which included participating in abortions, beginning on October 14. A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order to halt the practice on November 3, but nurses say the hospital continued to pressure them to participate. “They said very clearly if we did not assist, we would face termination,” said Racpan Vinoya.

Doctors reportedly told Vinoya, “You just have to catch the baby’s head. Don’t worry; it’s already dead.”

The agreement, which was reached on Thursday, ended the case Danquah v. University of Medicine and Dentistry of N.J. (UMDNJ), which was filed by all but four nurses in their unit.

Rep. Christopher Smith, R-NJ, said the hospital’s disregard for state and federal law and violation of its staff members’ consciences was “not only highly unethical but blatantly illegal.”

This was indeed a great victory, and the credit goes to twelve brave and principled nurses who stood their ground, and attorney Matt Bowman of the Alliance Defense Fund for his skillful and equally courageous defense of the nurses. There is a fundamental principle at stake here, one that is testing all of our established human anthropology, metaphysics, ethics, and jurisprudence.

Are medical professionals autonomous human beings or vending machines acting at the behest of patients and the state?

A government hospital in New Jersey was extremely backward thinking. They claimed that the medical professionals must assist in procedures that their well-formed consciences told them are inhuman and immoral, legality notwithstanding.

We’ve been here before.

The Nuremberg trials at the end of World War II wrestled with a very difficult decision. Nazi leaders and concentration camp personnel claimed to be following the lawful orders of Adolph Hitler, orders which were indeed lawful under Germany’s constitution, as the constitution had been amended by the people to declare the Fuehrer’s word law. At those trials, every civilized nation in the world stood to declare that Natural Moral Law is universal, and supersedes all manmade (positive) law.

Yes, the orders in Germany were indeed lawful under positive law, but the Natural Moral Law which takes the human nature of all human beings into its view supersedes any positive law which might conflict with the dictates of Natural Law.

On that basis, war criminals were hanged or imprisoned for life.

In Germany, it mattered not whether one actually dropped the gas tablets into the showers, or stood guard in the tower, or prepped the victims for their slaughter. Even today in 2012, those suspected of being camp guards are hunted down and put on trial.

It matters that much.

What Nuremberg tells us is that the human conscience is supreme over all positive law, that men and women in medicine are not inanimate vending machines who must respond mindlessly in the affirmative to all requests. That is the basis of conscience protections for health care workers.

Alarmingly, in medicine there are increasing voices who would take us back to a pre-Nuremberg world where the will reigns supreme over humble submission to universal law which respects universal human nature.

Blessedly, there were principled leaders who took on fascism in the middle of the last century in a conflict that claimed over 50 million human lives, and then charted a course in jurisprudence to help ensure that similar tragedies never befell humanity again. Twenty-five years later, the same US Supreme Court that sent Justice Jackson to preside at Nuremberg lost sight of its great contribution and enshrined in our law the principle that individual will trumps the rights of other human beings. Since then, over 53 million humans have lost their lives because of that decision.

Now we are faced with a series of Nurembergs, each struggling to assert the principle laid down so clearly, forcefully, and eloquently over 60 years ago in Germany.

Blessedly, we have principled leaders and warriors today in people like Matt Bowman of the Alliance Defense Fund, Nikolas Nikas and Dorinda Bordleee of the Bioethics Defense Fund, who speak frequently at medical and law schools about conscience rights, and brave medical professionals who are dedicated to upholding the highest estimation of humanity under the law.

To all of them, Thank You, and a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

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