By Newt Gingrich and Rick Tyler
In the President's recent healthcare summit, groups that support abortion were invited but pro-life groups with a stake in healthcare were excluded. With the President's support, Congress recently approved $50 million in funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). UNFPA is complicit in China's unspeakably cruel one-child enforcement policy, which employs forced abortion and sterilization. The President's nomination of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to be the new Secretary of Health and Human Services prompted George Weigel who leads Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center to question whether 'conscience-rights protection for pro-life physicians and health-care workers [will] be sustained, amended, or eliminated.' In February, the Administration decided that it would no longer extend hiring protections to faith-based organizations but would instead review on a case-by-case basis. The last Congress passed federal funding for embryonic-stem-cell research without hearings in either the House or the Senate, closed the bill to all markups, and bypassed the committee process entirely, we expect the same closed process in this Congress. Yet, the most hostile assault against the civil liberties in the medical profession may be yet to come. In 2007, Obama promised a Planned Parenthood gathering on the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade that, as president, he would sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). If enacted, FOCA would repeal all federal and state restrictions on abortion including the ban on partial-birth abortion. FOCA would force all public hospitals and health programs offering maternity services to provide abortions. Moreover, provisions in state constitutions that protect speech and the free exercise of religion of those whose conscience is opposed to abortion could be invalidated. Having no reason to believe that President Obama will not fulfill this radical campaign pledge, some Catholic bishops are talking openly about engaging in civil disobedience to protect Catholic hospitals and their doctors from being forced to perform abortions. The chilling effect of the Obama administration forcing doctors and nurses to choose between their losing their careers and being compelled to participate in abortions against their moral and religious belief is incalculable. Not only will pro-life doctors and nurses be driven from the professions, but patients will lose the ability to choose doctors who reflect their own religious and moral convictions, doctors who now help them to make healthcare choices based upon them. The fact is, there are doctors and nurses who have no moral objection to abortion. Why then, should some medical professionals be compelled to do something that compromises their conscience? It is one thing to hold fast to the pro-abortion position as a matter of a personal opinion, it is quite another to force someone else to compromise their moral integrity. Now the clock is ticking on the thirty-day review and public feedback period where public opinion might change the administration's direction toward religious freedom. Let's hope.