Don’t Force Doctors to Perform Abortions

In USA Today, Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Russell Moore write:

If you truly believe, as the words of the Declaration of Independence proclaim, that we are all created equal, endowed by our Creator with an unalienable right to life, you will likely see the life of the child in the womb as something to be respected and nurtured, not destroyed. That child as well as his or her mother are beloved children of God, and that makes demands on our conscience.

As leaders in the nation’s two largest religious denominations, we are charged with promoting this message and defending the conscience rights of others who believe it. Not only that, but we believe that the freedom to live by one’s deepest beliefs, without being forced by government to act against those beliefs, is our first freedom and a founding value of our nation. That being the case, we find it hard to imagine how those who call themselves “pro-choice” could deny another the choice of following his or her conscience.

What has appalled us in recent years is an increasing and fierce attack on conscience rights. The movement that once called itself “pro-choice” has campaigned to force doctors, nurses, and hospitals to participate in abortion or leave the health care system — and to force all Americans to pay for abortions if they want any health coverage. This is a grave threat to freedom of conscience. Forcing those who decline to participate in abortion — including medical professionals and health care entities — out of the marketplace helps no one and harms the common good….

On one of our most divisive issues, we have an opportunity to unite across political, religious and regional divides to agree that those who respect the life of the unborn child have a right to act on that belief, that we are not second-class citizens. We hope members of Congress of both parties will take up this challenge and enact the Conscience Protection Act.