Tough Pill Bill to Swallow

National Catholic Register
Commentary & Opinion
August 25 – 31, 2002

Reproduced with permission

Michael J.  O’Dea*

Regarding “N.Y. ‘Pill Bill’ Puts Church in Tough Spot” (July 28-Aug. 3):

Passage of New York’s Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage (EPICC) bill forces New York’s fully insured health plans to subsidize all FDA-approved contraceptive pills and devices. In addition to violating religious liberty and an individual’s right of conscience, this law undermines parents by expanding government control of American children’s sexual and reproductive health. How dare Ms. (Assemblywoman Deborah) Glick get away with her comments in this article. The bill is not about religious freedom, she says, but about individual choice and health care.

This bill is not about individual choice nor health care. It is about state and federal control of our children and what we finance in health care. This is a totalitarian agenda, proposed by Planned Parenthood and the Alan Guttmacher Institute. How does the Church get out of cooperating with a state law that interferes with parents’ right to shape the conscience of their children? The Catholic Church still does have options   of setting up self insured plans that are regulated by ERISSA, the federal law that frees self-insured health plans from state contraceptive mandates. However, if Sen. Kennedy and Congressman Bonior get their way with S 104 and HR 1111, those options will quickly vanish. President Bush could be forced to use his veto power – or every private and public health insurance plan that has prescription coverage will force employers and individuals, through taxes and insurance premiums, to confidentially fund unhealthy and morally objectionable contraceptive chemicals and devices  for children, without parental consent or knowledge.

In addition to challenging this insidious N.Y. EPICC legislation in the court and teaching the intrinsic evil of contraception, Catholics must unite to establish, administrate and control financing in their own self-insured Catholic health plan. Catholics must also unite with other faith-based organizations and defeat EPICC. If EPICC is not defeated, what will employers and individuals be forced to pay for next – euthanasia, artificial insemination, invitro-fertilization, cloning, and coverage for unmarried and same-sex partners?  America prides itself on assuring parents the opportunity to raise children without government intrusion and interference. A nation with the greatest political freedom is being undermined by a few powerful political interest groups. At this critical time, when the health and welfare of the American family, our nation’s future and our political freedom are all at stake, it is time for allChristians, particularly those in positions of leadership, to take charge of what we pay for in health care and “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is Gods.”

Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons accommodates Christian physician

 Sean Murphy*

The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons has accepted a suggestion from Dr. Stephen Dawson that has resolved complaints lodged against him. Dr. Dawson, a Christian physician who practises in Barrie, Ontario, was charged for professional misconduct because he refused to prescribe birth control pills to four unmarried women.

Dr. Dawson now posts a policy statement in his waiting room that includes a statement that he will not prescribe birth control pills to unmarried women nor Viagra to unmarried men, nor will he arrange for abortions. He will not offer further information about his religious convictions except in response to queries from patients. [Full text]

 

No Hospitality: The Unborn and the ACLU

BreakPoint
Commentary #020308 – 03/08/2002
Reproduced with permission

Charles Colson

Few, if any, organizations in the world promote abortion as zealously as the American Civil Liberties Union. Now it’s training its guns on hospitals.

A new ACLU report recently released complains that access to abortions is “increasingly jeopardized by the imposition of religious beliefs in the health care context.”

This deceptive language suggests that a Catholic or Baptist or Presbyterian hospital is “imposing” its beliefs on a woman by refusing to kill her unborn child. “No,” is equated with “imposing.” Well, the fact is that it’s the ACLU that would impose its zeal for killing the unborn on those who disagree.

Naturally the report doesn’t quite say it that way. The ACLU website  says, “It is often . . . appropriate to accommodate an individual health professional’s refusal to provide a service . . . ”

That sounds good, but read the fine print. It goes on to say “but only if the patient is ensured safe, timely, and feasible alternative access to treatment” — which means that if the woman can’t get an abortion nearby, medical personnel at a religious hospital have to perform it even though it is against their deepest convictions.

While the report concedes that an individual might be excused, it concedes nothing to the institution. The report states that hospitals  “operating in the public world and serving and employing a religiously diverse population . . . ought to play by public rules.” To do otherwise is viewed as a violation of  “reproductive rights” and a failure “to provide basic health care.”

But wait a minute — Public Rule number 1 is the First Amendment, guaranteeing the free exercise of religion. Clearly the ACLU and theabortion industry want to eviscerate the exercise of religious conviction in faith-based medical centers.

Christians and other people of compassion have established hospitals to heal the sick and care for the dying. They’re motivated by a concern for the ill — and also by the desire to obey God. The Scriptures command, “Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13).  The ministry of “hospitality” means gracious, tender care for friend and stranger alike.

Hospitality does not mean doing anything and everything to please a guest. If a friend comes over asking for a gun to kill himself, we invite him in, comfort him, and encourage him to choose life. We don’t give him what he wants; rather we give him what he needs. In the same way, we don’t kill an unborn child because the child’s mother says he or she is unwanted.

I am thrilled that President Bush has reiterated his commitment to faith-based institutions, both in his State of the Union address and  in his recent message to Congress with a new faith-based bill.  Religious hospitals are one more good example of faith-based solutions that get the job done. And these hospitals need to be protected by law.

A pregnant woman and her child deserve real hospitality that affirms life and gives them wise counsel. And hospitals must remain free to minister in the name of Christ. It’s a shame the ACLU can’t practice a little hospitality toward these ministries of compassion.


Copyright (c)  2002          Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with permission. “BreakPoint with Chuck Colson” is a radio ministry of Prison Fellowship Ministries.