U.S. House Urged to Preserve Conscience-Protection Provision

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 7, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Three Catholic leaders urged congressmen to safeguard conscience-protection language that would protect hospitals and other health-care providers from governmental discrimination when they refuse to get involved with abortions.

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The plea was made in a joint letter, delivered to members of the U.S. House of Representatives last Friday.

The letter was signed by Monsignor William Fay, general secretary of the U.S. bishops’ conference; Father Michael Place, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States; and Dr. John Lane, president of the Catholic Medical Association.

As examples of the need for such protection language, the three cited hospitals in Alaska, New Jersey and New Mexico which were discriminated against because of their pro-life policies.

“We hope you will agree, as we do, with what was said by a board member of the Alaska hospital,” the three said. “Hospitals and other health care providers have ‘a right to choose not to be involved in destroying life.'”

The letter said: “When the full House takes up the Labor/HHS appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2005, there may be an effort to strike the Conscience Protection language that is now part of that bill’s Hyde Amendment on abortion funding. … We urge you to oppose any effort to strike it.”

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