Freedom of faith, conscience and speech

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Catholic health workers face crisis of conscience

Catholic Register

October 22, 2016

(Canada) Given the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario policy that forces doctors to provide an "effective referral" for any recognized, legal medical procedure or treatment, even in those cases where the doctor objects on moral or religious grounds, there is great fear among members of the Doctors' Guild they will be forced to refer for assisted suicide. The Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience is taking the College of Physicians' and Surgeons of Ontario (CSPO) to court over its "Professional obligations and human rights" policy. The policy states, "Where physicians are unwilling to provide certain elements of care for reasons of conscience or religion, an effective referral to another health-care provider must be provided to the patient. An effective referral means a referral made in good faith, to a non-objecting, available, and accessible physician." This would apply to requests for medically assisted suicide. The demand isn’t often prompted by untreatable, crippling pain, said Euthanasia Prevention Coalition executive director and international chair Alex Schadenberg. “Some people are asking for voluntary euthanasia and it has nothing to do with palliative care. It has to do with their attitudes towards autonomy or radical control and their fear of suffering,” he said.

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Filed under: Conscience freedomFree speechHealthcare

Religious freedom and healthcare -- what our candidates should know

The Hill commentary by Jonathan Imbody

October 17, 2016

I've enjoyed the rare opportunity to advise both presidential campaigns this election season, and in each instance I have highlighted the link between First Amendment freedoms and patient access to healthcare. Freedom of faith, conscience and speech in healthcare has come under fire domestically and internationally in recent years, as politicians pander to special interest groups by mandating ideological conformity on issues such as homosexuality and abortion. Regardless of one's stance on controversial social issues, sound practical considerations and compassion for needy patients should quell cries to coerce health professionals - particularly those professionals motivated by their faith - into ideological conformity.

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Filed under: Christian Medical AssociationConscience freedomHealthcare

Federal Court: Christian Pregnancy Centers Must Tell Patients Where They Can Get Abortions

The Federalist

October 14, 2016

A federal court just ruled that pregnancy centers have to tell their patients where they can get publicly-funded contraception and an abortion-even if it violates their religious beliefs. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that California law AB 775, which compels Christian, pro-life pregnancy centers to advocate for abortion, doesn't impede their First Amendment right to exercise their religious beliefs. “Forcing these centers to promote abortion and recite the government’s preferred views is a clear violation of their constitutionally protected First Amendment freedoms,” said Matt Bowman of Alliance for Defending Freedom, which was representing the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, a faith-based pro-life group with 111 clinics in California.

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Filed under: AbortionAlliance Defending FreedomFree speech

Supreme Court to hear Christian school religious liberty case

Alliance Defending Freedom

October 5, 2016

Trinity Lutheran submitted its grant application, and the DNR ranked it fifth out of 44 applicants due to numerous factors, including the poverty level of the surrounding area. But, instead of awarding the grant, the DNR pointed to a section of the state constitution that prohibits government aid to religion and promptly disqualified the learning center solely because it was operated by a church. Committed to preserving the rights of the church, ADF petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court in November 2015 to take the case. "Seeking to protect children from harm while they play tag and go down the slide is about as far from an ‘essentially religious endeavor' as one can get," explains the ADF petition. "The DNR's religious exclusion sends a message that Trinity's children are less worthy of protection simply because they play on a playground owned by a church. This is not a mild disapproval of religion." The high court accepted the petition to hear the case, and oral arguments are set for fall 2016. SCOTUS blog coverage 

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Filed under: CourtsAlliance Defending FreedomEducation

Meet the Senator Opposing Obama's Mandate for Transgender Bathrooms in Schools

Daily Signal commentary by Kelsey Harkness

October 5, 2016

But instead of attacking the Obama administration on the policy itself, which allows transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity instead of their biological sex, Lankford is taking a different approach. The 48-year-old senator is challenging the process the executive branch used to implement the sweeping policy, arguing that it was wholly unlawful. "This administration has been notoriously focused not on passing legislation, but trying to find ways to be able to do things through regulation," Lankford told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. "But even as they try to do things through regulation, they're not trying to actually follow the rules of regulation-they're just making it up as they go, and trying to push as hard as they can and saying, ‘Sue me ... I'm going to do what I want.'"

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Filed under: CourtsCongressGender

Vermont law blasted for pushing doctors to discuss 'benefits' of suicide

Catholic News Service

October 3, 2016

A medical ethics group and a Christian doctors’ group have challenged Vermont regulators who say that doctors must tell patients about assisted suicide or refer them to someone who will. “The government shouldn’t be telling health care professionals that they must violate their medical ethics in order to practice medicine,” said Steven H. Aden, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom. The lawsuit’s plaintiffs, the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare and the Christian Medical and Dental Association, object to state officials’ requirements that could force physicians to refer for assisted suicide under the 2013 assisted suicide law known passed as Act 39, the Patient Control at End of Life Act.

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Filed under: Christian Medical AssociationAlliance Defending FreedomAsst. suicide/Euthanasia

We Need to Amend the Johnson Amendment So the IRS Will Allow Free Speech

Daily Signal commentary by Tony Perkins pub. 9/29

October 1, 2016

The amendment was introduced in 1954 by Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, D-Texas, as a way to stop his political opponents. The future president never intended to bar advocacy organizations from mentioning elected officials, or pastors and churches from commenting on candidates. Unfortunately, the Johnson Amendment certainly has been used in this way. Indeed, under current IRS guidance, it prevents a whole host of nonprofit organizations, religious and otherwise, from informing their followers in ways relevant to their own duty to vote. This ban is at odds with our own history. Since the birth of our nation, pastors and churches have been at the forefront of shaping public debate and our choice of public servants.

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Filed under: Religious freedomFamily Research CouncilFree speech

Key findings about Americans views on religious liberty and nondiscrimination

Pew Research Center pub. 9/28

October 1, 2016

Americans are evenly divided (49% to 48%) over whether wedding-related businesses, such as caterers and florists, should be required to serve same-sex couples who want to marry, even if the owner of these establishments objects to homosexuality for religious reasons. Americans are also closely divided over whether transgender people should be able to use public restrooms that correspond to their current gender identity. Two-thirds (67%) of Americans say employers should be required to provide birth control to employees through their health insurance plans, even if the business owner has religious objections to contraception.

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Filed under: Religious freedomPollingHomosexuality

Illinois crisis pregnancy centers sue over requirement to give abortion information

Chicago Tribune - pub. 9/30

October 1, 2016

Crisis pregnancy centers in northern Illinois have filed a federal lawsuit alleging their employees' freedom of speech and religious rights will be violated if the state forces them to give patients information about abortion services. "The government shouldn't be putting messages in people's mouths," said Noel Sterett, an attorney for the centers. The centers hope to have the Illinois Healthcare Right of Conscience Act amendment, which goes into effect Jan. 1, abolished as unconstitutional. The suit also seeks to have the state permanently barred from enforcing the amendment and from penalizing those who don't comply.

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Filed under: AbortionAlliance Defending FreedomFree speech

Bioethicists Say Doctors Should be Forced to Do Abortions and If They Quit, "So Be It"

LifeSite News

September 22, 2016

Abortion and euthanasia should not be matters of choice for doctors, two leading Canadian and British bioethicists argued in a new article in the journal "Bioethics." Professors Udo Schuklenk and Julian Savulescu believe that their governments should stop protecting doctors' conscious rights and force them to perform or at least refer patients for abortions, euthanasia and other practices that doctors object to on moral grounds, the National Post reports. The radical proposal has sparked some outrage in the medical community. Larry Worthen, of the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada, pointed out how the proposal would be an extreme violation of doctors' rights. "In every jurisdiction in the world, conscientious objection is recognized in some form," Worthen told the National Post. "The only governments in the history of humanity that have stripped away the conscience rights in this way are totalitarian governments."

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Filed under: AbortionHealthcareEnd of life

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