Tuesday, September 8, 2009

So Much for the Conscience Clause!

The current proposed health care plan has drawn fire from many angles. One that particularly interests me is that, somewhere in the 1,000+ pages, there is a provision for state-funded abortions. Now while President Obama dismisses this claim as a "crazy myth," the FactCheck.org web site has confirmed that House and Senate measures both open the door to government funding of abortion.

Furthermore, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has gone on record as saying that "reproductive health includes access to abortion." Many of us believe that abortion is NOT health care. But if we do not speak up, abortions will be included in the health reform plan, and you and I--against our conscience--will be paying for them.

So much for the conscience clause!

Yet why should that surprise anyone? The conscience clause has similarly been disregarded when it comes to the right of health care providers (doctors, nurses, pharmacists) to act according to their conscience. In many states, pharmacists risk censure and dismissal for refusing to dispense Plan B, the emergency contraception/abortifacient pill. Similarly, doctors risk losing their right to refuse to perform abortions (or refer for them) if abortions become standard of care under the new health plan.

Think what this will mean! Doctors will be forced to choose between their principles or their right to practice medicine. Principled medical professionals will leave their life work, thereby impoverishing the field of medicine. For patients, it will become more difficult to find Christian medical professionals, particularly in the fields of ob/gyn and family practice.

Especially hard hit will be medical pregnancy resource centers who depend on Christian pro-life medical professionals who neither perform abortions nor refer for them. Many pregnancy center clients choose life for their babies on the strength of a medical professional affirming the personhood of the child.

This is not a time to stand on the sidelines. We who believe in the sanctity of human life must step up and make our voices heard before Congress votes on health reform next month. May God give us strength to do so!

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