WASHINGTON- Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) made the following statement regarding the Executive Order President Obama is expected to sign surrounding the pro-life issues in the Democrat health care reform package that was signed into law today.

“On Sunday, March 21, Congress held a career-defining vote on the issue of government funding of abortion and for the pro-life community. I voted against H.R. 3590, the Senate-passed health care bill, because it contains several provisions that will facilitate the federal funding of abortions. Furthermore, the bill does not provide for the conscience protection for health care workers.

Many lawmakers who consider themselves ‘pro-life’ voted in favor of this legislation after a promise from President Barack Obama to sign an Executive Order (EO) to correct the problem of abortion funding in the bill. However, President Obama is the most pro-abortion chief executive to ever reside in the White House and a piece of paper signed with his name will do nothing to make this health care legislation acceptable to protect the unborn.

An EO cannot change federal statute, which is what H.R. 3590 which was signed into law today. Even Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), a pro-abortion member of the House Democrat Leadership, admitted during an interview with Fox News on Sunday that ‘an executive order cannot change the law.’ Furthermore, an EO can be retracted just as easily – it does not have the full force of the law. The American public, including my constituents, have overwhelmingly indicated that they do not want the government to fund abortions, but that is exactly what this legislation will do.”

No votes yet

I wish Latta would step up and say:
- The Health Care bill does not contain provisions that I and some of my constituents feel are important regarding federal funding and abortions. And it's my fault, at least partially. And my colleagues who, instead of trying to help create and pass legislation, tried our best to absolutely obstruct it. We probably could have pushed to have these types of safeguards built into the law, probably pretty easily, as there are many Democrats who agree with us. However, we played a gambit, lost, and in response, we have let you, the people we agreed to represent, down.

- There are already protections that abound regarding conscience objection based on religion in the rulebook, and they are problematic in their ambiguity. When doctors (and health care workers) have rights to withhold information from patients about legal health care options, patients lose, and at moments when they are vulnerable and need to trust their physician.

Here's an excerpt from a New England Journal of Medicine perspective article. It's a bit too rationale-based for my liking, and he uses slippery slope a bit to much as a basis for his argument, but there are some serious ethical concerns about allowing too broad a provision for conscience objection:

Medicine needs to embrace a brand of professionalism that demands less self-interest, not more. Conscientious objection makes sense with conscription, but it is worrisome when professionals who freely chose their field parse care and withhold information that patients need. As the gatekeepers to medicine, physicians and other health care providers have an obligation to choose specialties that are not moral minefields for them. Qualms about abortion, sterilization, and birth control? Do not practice women's health. Believe that the human body should be buried intact? Do not become a transplant surgeon. Morally opposed to pain medication because your religious beliefs demand suffering at the end of life? Do not train to be an intensivist. Conscience is a burden that belongs to the individual professional; patients should not have to shoulder it.

Patients need information, referrals, and treatment. They need all legal choices presented to them in a way that is true to the evidence, not the randomness of individual morality. They need predictability. Conscientious objections may vary from person to person, place to place, and procedure to procedure. Patients need assurance that the standard of care is unwavering. They need to know that the decision to consent to care is theirs and that they will not be presented with half-truths and shades of gray when life and health are in the balance.

Patients rely on health care professionals for their expertise; they should be able expect those professionals to be neutral arbiters of medical care. Although some scholars advocate discussing conflicting values before problems arise, realistically, the power dynamics between patients and providers are so skewed, and the time pressure often so great, that there is little opportunity to negotiate. And there is little recourse when care is obstructed — patients have no notice, no process, and no advocate to whom they can turn.

Health care providers already enjoy broad rights — perhaps too broad — to follow their guiding moral or religious tenets when it comes to sterilization and abortion. An expansion of those rights is unwarranted. Instead, patients deserve a law that limits objections and puts their interests first. Physicians should support an ethic that allows for all legal options, even those they would not choose.

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