From the desk of:
Director of Bioethics and Public Policy
Dr. Hilliard holds graduate degrees in Maternal-Child Health Nursing, Religious Studies, Canon Law and Professional Higher Education Administration; and she has an extensive professional background in medical ethics and public policy and advocacy. She is a practicing registered nurse who has been substantially involved in health care regulation at the state and national levels for twelve years. In addition, she is a canon lawyer and serves as a resource for the implementation of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services and Church – State relations.
The National Scene:
President Obama has not only reversed the Bush policies that prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars for human embryonic stem cell research, but also rescinded the Bush executive order that gave priority to research that not only is morally acceptable, but most significantly, fruitful (adult stem cell research). President Obama’s order directs the federal support of all legal forms of stem cell research. This means that as long as tax dollars are not used to destroy the embryo, researchers can use tax dollars to research on cells garnered from these destroyed human beings, including cloned embryos and other embryos engendered just to be destroyed. While President Obama stated that human cloning will never be supported, he limited that ban to reproductive cloning only.
The good news is that President Obama signed into law the annual renewal of the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which prohibits tax dollar support of research that directly destroys the embryo or fetus. There is some good news on this topic at the state level, see State by State, below.
- The “Freedom of Choice Act” creating abortion as an entitlement and mandating the violation of consciences of health care workers, remains a threat. It is feared that the provisions in this legislation will be included, piecemeal, in a number of other bills so that the threat is less detectable. Cognizant of such implications, the Georgia House passed a resolution urging Congress to oppose FOCA.
- President Obama already has initiated the process of reversing the legal conscience protections for health care workers, which have been law for decades and codified in rules of the US Department of Health and Human Services by President Bush. Public comments are needed to prevent this policy reversal. Health care providers will have no right to refuse to participate in abortions. Please e-mail your comments “in support of President Bush’s US HHS conscience rules” to email@example.com by April 9, 2009.
- The ACLU has sued the US HHS for working with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to protect the vulnerable from human trafficking. The USCCB’s position is to protect all human life, from the victim of trafficking to her unborn child.
- A federal judge has ordered the US FDA to make Plan B available without a prescription to 17 year old girls (which means without parental consent). It already is available to 18 year old females and males (allowing statutory rape to go undetected).
- The federal government is being sued in an effort to have federal recognition of same-sex spouses.
- The US Senate has rejected a proposal to make national law a Bush provision that entitled the unborn child health care under the SCHIP provisions. These provisions are to assure healthy children through providing uninsured children with health coverage.