Forcing Healthcare Providers to Violate Conscience

Despite having the legal authority for a life-ending service, abortion supporters/promoters are less than happy. As has been seen recently, a NARAL-supported bill in the California legislature, known as AB775, would dramatically affect crisis pregnancy centers. Although its name is “Reproductive FACT Act”, the reality is that the bill is a one-sided attack on CPCs, and would require they promote abortion or face fines. While the bill’s movement through the legislature is ongoing, a similar type of restrictive bill has been introduced in another state.

Illinois Senate Bill 1564 goes by the nauseating title of “Health Care Right of Conscience Act”. (Using words like “facts” and “conscience” must make it easier for one to rationalize a position, and makes such legislation seem a good thing to a public which doesn’t read past legislative titles. But I digress.) The bill’s first reading was in February of this year, and currently, a second extension on May 31 set a deadline of June 30, 2015 for final action. IL Representative Peter Breen (R) recently wrote an op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times regarding the bill.

Senate Bill 1564 violates all these principles: it forces doctors to discuss abortion whenever it’s a “legal treatment option” (which it is in every pregnancy). Even worse, it requires health care workers and facilities to provide lists of local abortion clinics upon request. The activists pushing this bill claim that forcing people of faith to provide lists of abortion clinics is morally acceptable, so long as they aren’t forced to refer to a specific abortion clinic. This is a distinction without a difference, as both are “participation” in abortion.

Let’s say someone asks you to drive for a bank robbery, and you respond, “I won’t do it, but here’s a list of three guys who may.” Under law, you’re as responsible for the bank robbery as the trigger man and the driver — you aided and encouraged the crime.

Medical personnel should never be forced to assist in connecting a woman with abortion providers. The pro-abort movement considers themselves a supporter of women’s health, but there is nothing healthy about referrals for murder. It is morally reprehensible and goes against everything (most) medical professionals have committed themselves to. The freedom of the medical community to actually provide & promote care is under attack. Also under attack is religious freedom. An April statement from Catholic Citizens of Illinois regarding this IL bill said the following:

Catholics do not derive our consciences from the Illinois General Assembly.  Freedom of Religion, the first freedom enshrined in the First Amendment, and in the Illinois Constitution, prohibits the government from violating our unalienable right not to be coerced in matters of faith. The right to freedom of religion is a human right, conferred on us by our Creator, and not by the Federal Government, the State of Illinois or even by our religious authorities.

In all the discussion on rights, the earliest established and most basic human right is the right to life. It exists regardless of the laws passed at the state or national level. While this truth is especially precious to those who consider themselves religious, such as many in the Catholic community, it is equally as precious to the many who do not. The worth of a single individual is inherent, and their value is not made more so by location or stage of development. That value is not based on the fluctuating price an outside observer, such as a legislative body, may give it.

Unsurprisingly, the victim card continues to be played by the least victimized of all – the pro-abort crowd. A recent Slate article detailed “hardships” connected with the abortion procedures in some states, such as a mandatory waiting period. The author, an OB-GYN, also mentioned the “cruelty” of being required to listen to the fetal heartbeat before signing a consent to terminate a pregnancy. She even ends the piece with: “…that abortion is safe, that anti-abortion laws and rhetoric are dangerous, and that despite bullying, we will keep on providing”. With the law on their side, abortion proponents (the actual bullies) will remain fixated on coercing CPCs and medical professionals to play by their rules, or else. Unless another extension is agreed upon, a new, forceful measure might be passed in Illinois legislature. If that occurs, the Illinois Governor, Republican Bruce Rauner, would most likely sign it into law. His track record on abortion shows him to be as cowardly as they come on life issues.

Regardless of the outcome, the legislative restrictions on those who support life are increasing. While this is disheartening, we cannot forget that the legal authority granted in Roe v. Wade and beyond will never eclipse the moral authority we possess to utterly defend unborn life.