The Obama Administration vs.

the Christian Conscience

(Remnant News Watch for April 30, 2009)

Mark Alessio


"The great irony is that abortion has done what the Klan only dreamed of...

Roughly one quarter of the black population is now missing."


- Dr. Alveda King, Niece of Martin Luther King Jr.

(Posted 05/07/09 On April 10, 2009, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) announced that, “Today we are pleased with an important victory in our ongoing litigation to protect the conscience rights of pharmacists in the State of Illinois”:

On Friday, April 3, 2009, the Circuit Court in Springfield, Illinois issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the Governor of Illinois and other state officials, ordering them not to enforce a 2005 administrative regulation that required all pharmacies to dispense Plan B and other forms of abortion producing drugs.

“This is yet another step on the road to full protection for the rights of conscience of all health care workers,” said Francis J. Manion, ACLJ Senior Counsel who argued the motion for the TRO on behalf of the pharmacists. “In ruling in favor of our clients, the court rejected the attempt of Illinois officials to trample on the rights of our clients and disregard existing laws passed by the legislature for the very purpose of protecting those rights. We will continue to press this issue until we have obtained full protection for the conscience rights of these professionals who should not have to choose between their deeply held religious beliefs and license revocation and other penalties.”

The ACLJ's clients, Luke VanderBleek and Glenn Kosirog, who own a total of five pharmacies between them, hold religious beliefs that make it impossible for them to sell abortifacients. Judge John Belz, who issued the Temporary Restraining Order, declared that the 2005 regulation “posed a real threat of irreparable harm to pharmacists with religious objections to selling such drugs.” A hearing regarding VanderBleek and Kosirog’s request for a permanent injunction is scheduled for June.

Approximately a month before the ACLJ’s Illinois victory, the Obama administration declared their intentions to ostracize pro-life health care personnel by doing away with protections established by the Bush administration for anti-abortion medical centers and staff. On March 6, 2009, Life News reported: 

Obama officials had told media outlets that the president wanted to merely clarify the existing rules, but, today, the administration published in the Federal Register a proposal to rescind the pro-life protections entirely. "The Department is proposing to rescind in its entirety the final rule," Obama HHS [Health & Human Services] officials wrote in the proposal.

The Obama administration bases its rationale on objections to pro-life protections registered by Planned Parenthood and other groups, who claim that “the rule would limit access to patient care and raised concerns that individuals could be denied access to services, with effects felt disproportionately by those in rural areas or otherwise underserved.”

Ah, yes, those poor “rural” folk, so desperately in need of abortions. Interestingly, in a 2007 meeting of Priests for Life, Dr. Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King Jr., spoke out about abortionists “who plant their killing centers in minority neighborhoods and prey upon women who think they have no hope”:

“The great irony,” she said, “is that abortion has done what the Klan only dreamed of” .... “In the last forty-plus years,” Dr. King said, “15 million black people have been denied their most basic civil right, the right to life. Roughly one quarter of the black population is now missing.” (Life Site News – August 24, 2007)

But, with influential pro-abortion bigwigs like Planned Parenthood leading the charge, the Obama crew has decided that the entire Provider Conscience Clause, set in place to protect the civil rights of medical professionals, should be jettisoned. "Accordingly, we believe it would benefit the Department to review this rule, accept further comments, and reevaluate the necessity for regulations implementing the statutory requirements," concludes the Obama HHS proposal. "Thus, the Department is proposing to rescind the December 19, 2008 final rule."

What exactly did the Final Regulation to Protect Health Care Providers from Discrimination, posted by the United States Department of Health & Human Services on December 18, 2008, say? It began, “The right of federally funded health care providers to decline to participate in services to which they object, such as abortion, is affirmed by a final regulation that has been issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).” Specifically, the regulation recognized that (1) health care institutions and employees were to be the recipients of non-discrimination protections, that (2) recipients of certain HHS funds must comply with laws protecting provider conscience rights, and that (3) the HHS Office for Civil Rights would handle complaints of discrimination.

How important are such protections for pro-life health care professionals? Christian Medical and Dental Associates (CMDA), a group which “provides resources, networking opportunities, education, and a public voice for Christian healthcare professionals and students,” has compiled a report titled Evidence of Need for Conscience Protections (posted online at which chronicles instances of discrimination against pro-life physicians, nurses, pharmacists, medical students, EMT’s, etc.

Among the numerous instances cited therein are a family medicine physician deemed "too Catholic" for a medical license, an Ob-Gyn intern who lost privileges for refusing to perform abortions, an anesthesiologist who must anesthetize for abortion as a condition for employment, a nurse fired from a county health position for expressing pro-life views, an EMT fired over the issue of abortion transport, a medical professor threatened with job loss over abortifacients, a military physician forced to refer for abortions, medical schools discriminating against pro-life, religious applicants, an Ob-Gyn physician's malpractice insurer insisting on lesbian insemination, a resident physician fired for teaching about abortion complications, and a pharmacist visited by police after expressing his conscientious objection to contraceptives.

When the 2008 Final Regulation to Protect Health Care Providers from Discrimination was published, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said, “Doctors and other health care providers should not be forced to choose between good professional standing and violating their conscience. This rule protects the right of medical providers to care for their patients in accord with their conscience.”

That was less than one year ago. How could so much go so wrong in so little time? One of President Obama’s first moves as President of the United States was the signing of an executive order reversing the “Mexico City Policy,” which forbade the U.S. government from providing funding for family planning services to clinics or groups that offered abortion-related services overseas. In effect, this policy prevented recipients of foreign aid from actively pushing abortion as a means of “family planning.”

The “Mexico City Policy” was introduced in 1984 during the Reagan administration, overturned by Bill Clinton in 1993, and restored by George W. Bush in 2001, at the beginning of his presidency. Obama signed his executive order reversing this policy on January 23rd, only his third day in office, a powerful indication of the new Commander-in-Chief’s staunch commitment to abortion and the industry which it feeds.

In a campaign speech to Planned Parenthood, Obama said, “The first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act [FOCA].” FOCA would eliminate all restrictions on abortion at the national level. It would eliminate state laws on parental involvement and partial birth abortion, compel taxpayer funding of abortions, and force faith-based hospitals and healthcare facilities to perform abortions. Regarding the overturning of the Mexico City Policy, House Republican Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio said, "It is beginning to look like the administration is intent on enacting [the Freedom of Choice Act] incrementally ... through low-key legislative maneuvers and executive orders.”

With the nation now helmed by a fanatical pro-abort, who has surrounded himself with a like-minded administration, the victory won by Luke VanderBleek, Glenn Kosirog and the American Center for Law and Justice in Illinois can be set into relief. It is indeed an “important victory,” as it was called by the ACLJ. May Our Lord and Our Lady grant that it be only the first of many.




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