Conscience Protections Struck Down!

CMA Responds After Two Federal Judges Block Conscience Protection Rule 

Philadelphia, PA—The Catholic Medical Association is disappointed to learn two federal judges ruled to block The Department of Health and Human Services’ Conscience Protection Rule.

CMA previously expressed its support of HHS’ Conscience Rule, which aims to “protect healthcare providers, individuals, and other health care entities from having to provide, participate in, pay for, or refer for services which violate their conscience.”

“The protection of conscience is essential to the nature of every human life. It is furthermore a critical component of our role as health care workers. Without the freedom to exercise conscience, patients will no longer be able to trust in us never to abandon them,” said CMA President, Dr. John Schirger.

CMA believes the courts’ actions violate religious freedom and put the lives of patients at risk.

“The ruling is based in part on a lack of evidence of complaints about the rule. Conscience should be protected in principle and from the outset. It is unreasonable to require violations of conscience before conscience can be protected,” said Barbara Golder, M.D., J.D., Editor-in-Chief of CMA’s Linacre Quarterly.

Back in May of 2019, Co-Chair of CMA’s Ethics Committee, Dr. Marie Hilliard, warned of the importance of conscience rights when HHS initially shared its Conscience Rule.

“Without this protection, healthcare workers cannot be true advocates for our patients, especially if the best interest of the patient is being violated. As Catholic healthcare professionals, we never abandon patients even if it means we must transfer their care if they are requesting a procedure that violates their well-being or our professional integrity. Thus, this final rule is very protective of not only professionals but of the human beings served,” said Dr. Hilliard.

“The patient’s autonomy does not supersede the conscience of a physician. Therefore, the physician must be free to refuse to participate in immoral procedures, and free to refuse to refer to other providers who might be willing to perform such procedures,” said Dr. Lester Ruppersberger, OBGYN and Past President of CMA.

CMA is hopeful the courts will come to understand the need to protect the conscience rights of healthcare workers in the country and reverse their decisions.

“It must not be forgotten that when a health care professional refuses to perform procedures or recommend therapies based on a conscientious objection, they do so as not to violate or injure the physical, mental or spiritual health of their patients,” said Dr. Greg Burke, Co-Chair of CMA’s Ethics Committee.

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The Catholic Medical Association is a national, physician-led community of over 2,300 healthcare professionals consisting of 109 local guilds. CMA mission is to inform, organize, and inspire its members, in steadfast fidelity to the teachings of the Catholic Church, to uphold the principles of the Catholic faith in the science and practice of medicine.

 

Jill Blumenfeld

Communications Manager

blumenfeld@cathmed.org

Palliative Care and Advance Care Planning

I had a really nice time speaking at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church last night as part of their Breath of Life Ministry’s Respect Life Month.  What a wonderful group of people, and such a beautiful church!

I hope that this sort of event sparks conversations among family and friends about the importance of careful advance care planning.  It is all too easy these days to sign documents (e.g., standard NYS living wills and certain part of the MOLST form) that will direct care that goes against Catholic Teaching.

My basic advice: We all need a Health Care Proxy and we do NOT need a standard NYS living will.  I recommend using the document put out by the NY Conference of Bishops entitled Now and at the Hour of Our Death.  This makes clear who should making health care decisions if you were to be unable to make them yourself (the Health Care Proxy portion) and that you wish for all medical care to be provided that is in accord with Catholic Teaching (the “Living Will” portion).

The MOLST form is ONLY POSSIBLY appropriate for those who would not benefit from attempts to restart their heart if it were to stop (CPR vs  DNR) or who would be very unlikely to benefit from even a few days on a ventilator.  I strongly recommend AGAINST competing the section on Artificial Nutrition and Hydration as this question is never an emergency and so can and should be assessed and decided upon by a person’s Health Care Proxy at the time.

For a Catholic POLST (which is what the rest of the country calls forms similar to NYS’s MOLST) see the thoughtful discussion from the National Catholic Bioethics Center here.

Thank you again to the wonderful people at St. Stanislaus’s parish for inviting me last night.  May God continue to bless your exceptional ministry.

Mary, Health of the Sick, Pray for Us!

Tom Carroll – President

St Stan

CMA Responds to AMA on Abortion

The Catholic Medical Association has issued a clear and compassionate response to the American Medical Association’s pro-abortion statement.  A brief sample:

 

“An authentic and patient-centered practice of medicine has always and should always recognize the intrinsic value of human life in the mother’s womb,” said Dr. Greg Burke, Co-Chair of CMA’s Ethics Committee.

“As a medical organization that claims to represent the physicians of this country, how far away from the Hippocratic oath has the AMA deviated to say that dismembering a baby in the second trimester of pregnancy is healthcare?”

Click here for the entire response from the CMA.

 

 

 

White Mass

The White Mass today was wonderful!

Thank you to Bishop Matano for celebrating Mass and supporting the Guild!

Thank you also to the St. Louis parish for hosting and providing food!

 

Keeping Our Gaze on Christ as His Faithful Church

Christ’s Church has always faced challenges in our fallen world.  Our generation has found itself in the midst of the clergy abuse scandal, which poses a serious challenge to the Church’s moral standing in the public square and is causing some to leave the Church.

It is up to us to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in articulating the Church’s beliefs and doing what we can to heal these terrible wounds inflicted on the Body of Christ.  Please consider joining us as we lend our support to the Catholic Moms of Rochester who are presenting what promises to be a very informative and inspiring program on November 9, 9am to noon, at St. Patrick’s Church in Victor.

What blessing to have the opportunity to hear two great speakers and then spend time in Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament!  Please do join us!

If you would like to attend, please register via email at catholicmomsofrochester@gmail.com

Keeping our gaze on Christ

Journal Club Last Night

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our quarterly Journal Club yesterday evening!

We had a great turnout with wide-ranging and inspiring discussion about the technocratic influences in medicine and our society in general.

Ultimately we agree that we can perhaps occasionally fight the ‘big fight’ against such dehumanizing forces…and…we must never lose sight of the ways in which we can, in our everyday lives, intentionally maintain/restore human connections.

Again, thank you to everyone who was able to make it last night. We will be announcing our next Journal Club date and topic soon, so stay tuned!