Thanks to our friends at The Virginia Catholic Conference — who do fantastic work keeping up with federal issues, especially regulatory matters that don't require Congressional action and therefore aren't in a big a media spotlight — we have an urgent reminder that the Obama Administration is losing no time in trying to force medical workers of faith into providing services they find objectionable. On February 27, it announced its intention to remove current regulations, put in place by the Bush Administration late last year, that protect conscience rights in health care. On March 10, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a formal proposal to rescind these regulations, thereby activating a 30-day period for the public to submit comments. 

The National Committee for a Human Life Amendment has devised an Action Alert explaining why the regulations should be retained and providing directions on how to submit comments to HHS (click here). E-mail messages can be sent directly through the NCHLA Action Center. A preset message is provided, to which the sender can add personal comments. 

Please submit your comments before the April 9 deadline! 

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has set up a special Web site with that provides a wealth of information and resources on conscience protection (click here), including a link to the NCHLA Action Center message. We encourage you to visit that site and others to fully arm yourself on the issue.  

Churches are encouraged to display the NCHLA and USCCB links on their Web pages. Highlighting the critical importance of the current conscience regulations, Cardinal Francis George, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said:

They are "one part of the range of legal protections for health care workers — for doctors, nurses and others — who have objections in conscience to being involved in abortion and other killing procedures that are against how they live their faith in God." 

Removing these conscience regulations "would be the first step in moving our country from democracy to despotism."

The Obama HHS promises to be as destructive as ever toward the unborn. Its secretary-designate, Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic, was the most pro-abortion-on- demand governor in the country before her nomination. He extremist policy positions prompted Archbishop Raymond L. Burk to call her an "embarrassment" (Catholic News Agency). It will take every possible effort to counter the new adminstration's pro-abortion initiatives. Pro-life Virginia activists responded in numbers to impress upon the Bush Administration how important these medical professional conscience protections are (see previous commentary). A redoubled effort is required to convince the Obama Administration to retain them.