Obama Chronicles V: Contrary To Conscience

March 2, 2009 09:00 AM

It has been a very interesting few days. Analyzing the latest presidential escapades is not always as straightforward as one might wish, but one thing has become perfectly clear to me. There is no way that a sound-thinking, upright Christian member of the medical community is going to be able to survive under the Obama onslaught unless at some level, lawmakers or judges see through the dictatorial attitudes of a president who appears to have no respect for anyone’s perspective other than his own.

For those who honestly believed the president truly meant what he suggested about being somewhat moderate in his administration’s abortion policies, the following should shake up your granola big time.

I am speaking, of course, of the latest Obama administration announcement that it is “reviewing” the conscience clause that was implemented in the last months of the Bush administration with an eye toward possibly rescinding the rule.  

For those unfamiliar with the actual Bush administration action that took place just prior to his leaving office, the Department of Health and Human Services clarified in December of last year that the new rule specifically

  • Clarifies that non-discrimination protections apply to institutional health care providers as well as to individual employees working for recipients of certain funds from HHS; 
  • Requires recipients of certain HHS funds to certify their compliance with laws protecting provider conscience rights; and 
  • Designates the HHS Office for Civil Rights as the entity to receive complaints of discrimination addressed by the existing statutes and the regulation.

When the new rule was issued, then-HHS Secretary Leavitt said

Doctors and other health care providers should not be forced to choose between good professional standing and violating their conscience. This rule protects the right of medical providers to care for their patients in accord with their conscience.


The Obama administration spin, however, is quite different.  Speaking to the Washington Post [under condition of anonymity, of course!!] one HHS official told Rob Stein


We've been concerned that the way the Bush rule is written, it could make it harder for women to get the care they need. It is worded so vaguely that some have argued it could limit family-planning counseling and even potentially blood transfusions and end-of-life care.


We all know there is nothing vague about the rule, so what is this unknown person talking about?  Who knows!  As far as I am concerned, there is something extremely sinister and suspect about anybody who holds a credible position within government and has to remain anonymous!  Sounds like Clinton is back, doesn’t it?  Only this time, people, it is going to get really bad for anybody who hopes to defend the defenseless by being honest and forthright while being God-fearing too.
Internet commentator Noam Levey has been watching the drama unfold as well, and told his blog readers

 
Last month, without official ceremony Obama quietly overturned a controversial ban on U.S. funding for international aid groups that provide abortion services with no official ceremony.

The move by his Department of Health and Human Services to throw out the conscience rule is being made equally quietly as most of Washington focuses on Obama's blockbuster budget plan.

Thursday, officials stressed that the administration is looking for input from people across the ideological spectrum before it finalizes the rollback after the standard 30-day comment period.

"We believe that this is a complex issue that requires a thoughtful process where all voices can be heard," said one official, who was not authorized to speak on the record about the policy change.

The officials said the administration will consider drafting a new rule to clarify what healthcare workers can reasonably refuse to do for their patients.
 

While all the clever posturing has convinced even some very good people that the Obama administration is really not doing anything that draconian, others have had quite the opposite position, and for that I am eternally grateful.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ spokesperson Deidre McQuade made it perfectly clear that

"We are gravely concerned over today's news that the Obama administration may rescind the current federal regulation protecting the conscience rights of health care providers.  Efforts to nullify or weaken any conscience protection will undermine our national heritage of diversity and religious freedom, reduce patients' access to life-affirming health care, and endanger the national consensus required to enact much-needed health care reform."


Human Life International president Father Tom Euteneuer slammed Obama’s “one-upmanship” and put his cards squarely on the table, saying, “I'm tired of President Obama's 'Choice for me, but not for thee' hypocrisy. His audacity is not of hope, but of the destruction of freedom and human life!”

As if the Obama administration’s shenanigans were not enough, there is more going on in the states, designed to shore up Obama’s predicted action to blur right of conscience with a dictatorship of moral relativism, Obama-style.

In Hartford, Connecticut, a suit was filed by Connecticut's attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, who was joined by six state attorneys general challenging the Bush administration conscience rule.  In addition,


New York state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo brought a separate suit on behalf of his state. Still other actions were filed by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

All the suits argue that the new rule would likely deprive patients of needed services, notably emergency contraception for rape victims.


Responding to this ludicrous action, several pro-life professional organizations including the Catholic Medical Association, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Christian Medical Association have joined forces to intervene against these lawsuits.

A Catholic news report on this action states


Without the regulation, members of the groups taking steps to keep it in place would be subject to "the imminent threat of being forced ... to perform abortions, assist in abortions, train for abortions and refer individuals for abortions despite their religious, moral and ethical objections to the practice of abortion," said court papers filed with the U.S. District Court in Hartford, Conn.

Attorneys from the Alliance Defense Fund and the Center for Law & Religious Freedom filed the motions on behalf of the three pro-life organizations.

"Physicians must defend their right to practice medicine in accordance with their conscience," said John Brehany, executive director of the Catholic Medical Association. "It's a very important principle that every physician should support."


While all of this troubles us deeply and confirms our worst fears about the president’s dedication to protecting abortion and its progeny, it also says something very sobering about where this nation is heading and how quickly it has gone down that road. David Stevens of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations said it best when he told the Washington Post


"It is open season to again discriminate against health-care professionals.  Our Founding Fathers, who bled and died to guarantee our religious freedom, are turning over in their graves."

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