Conscience protection rule critically important: Archbishop John C. Nienstedt


Editors Note: When push comes to shove on the issue of religious freedom in America we Catholic’s need to make our voice heard… You may act now by clicking the flashing USCCB ad on the sidebar to the right, or, read the article first and act afterword. Either way, for the sake of freedom of conscience, and even freedom itself, act… james mary evans

The Catholic Spirit

Having been told that we would have a double issue of  The Catholic Spirit for Holy Week, I originally planned to reflect with you on the importance of the triduum and our participation in the marvelous celebrations of Holy Thursday, Good Friday as well as both the Vigil and feast of Easter.

The Paschal Mystery calls for our focused attention and devotion. Year after year, we should find new meaning in the love that our Blessed Lord demonstrated for us by his suffering and death.

We ought also to draw new insight into the power of his resurrection and the gift of new life offered to us in the saving waters of baptism.

But I have decided to alter the focus of this column due to what I consider a grave threat to our country’s well-being through the infringement of our right to exercise a freedom of conscience.

On Feb. 27, 2009, the Obama administration placed on their federal Web site an announcement that they intend to remove a conscience protection rule pertaining to the Department of Health and Human Services.

This rule is one of the critically important legal protections currently offered to our nation’s health care workers – our doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others who care for the infirm and disabled.

The rule protects those who object to being involved in an abortion or other morally objectionable acts that are contrary to both their faith and their Hippocratic Oath.

Our U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops president, Cardinal Francis George, has expressed concern that this action on the part of our federal government could be the first step in moving our nation from democracy to despotism.  The American public should presume that freedom of religion and freedom of conscience are always safeguarded by the laws of our land.  Gov ernment should never come between an individual citizen and God.

This is one of the reasons for which so many of our forebearers came to this country, i.e., to worship God freely and to live their faith according to their inner convictions.

Those in the medical profession should not be deprived of the legal protection to be true to their own convictions.

Abortion is the taking of human life. This is not only a faith-based conviction, it is a scientific fact.

Images from ultrasound show prospective parents the living movements of their child in the womb. No government should force a doctor or nurse to act in a way that they know to be morally wrong.

I urge you to let the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C., know that you object to the removal of legal protection for the consciences of those who work in the field of health care.

One way of doing so is to access an action alert

Let’s not start down what would surely be a slippery slope to moral chaos.

God bless you! And have a blessed Holy Week and a joy-filled Easter!

How to make your voice heard

Comments on the proposed rescission of the HHS regulations may be submitted electronically from the Web site of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Written comments (one original and two copies) also may be mailed to:

Office of Public Health and Science, Department of Health and Human Services, Attention: Rescission Proposal Comments, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Ave. S.W, Room 716G, Washington, DC 20201.

The deadline for public comment is April 9. 


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