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Cardinal George Praises President Obama's Promise to Support Conscience Clauses, Seeks to Work With Administration on Goal
Date:5/22/2009

Cardinal George grateful for Obama promise to support conscience clauses

Conscience rights will strengthen health care

Church looks forward to working with Administration to advance conscience rights

WASHINGTON, May 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, praised President Barack Obama's promise to support conscience clauses.

"Caring health professionals and institutions should know that their deeply held religious or moral convictions will be respected as they exercise their right to serve patients in need," Cardinal Francis George said.

"Catholic providers, in particular, make a large and essential contribution to health care in our society. Essential steps to protect these conscience rights will strengthen our health care system and enhance many patients' access to necessary life-affirming care.

"A government that wants to reduce the tragic number of abortions in our society will also work to ensure that no one is forced to support or participate in abortion, whether through directly providing or referring for abortions or being forced to subsidize them with their tax dollars. As this discussion continues we look forward to working with the Administration and other policy makers to advance this goal," he said.

The 2009 Official Catholic Directory reports that in the United States there are 562 Catholic hospitals treating more than 85 million people annually. President Obama spoke of conscience protections during his May 17 address at the University of Notre Dame.

Cardinal George's entire statement follows:

I am grateful for President Obama's statement on May 17 that we should all "honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion," and his support for conscience clauses advancing this goal.

Since 1973, federal laws protecting the conscience rights of health care providers have been an important part of our American civil rights tradition. These laws should be fully implemented and enforced. Caring health professionals and institutions should know that their deeply held religious or moral convictions will be respected as they exercise their right to serve patients in need.

Catholic providers, in particular, make a large and essential contribution to health care in our society. Essential steps to protect these conscience rights will strengthen our health care system and enhance many patients' access to necessary life-affirming care.

A government that wants to reduce the tragic number of abortions in our society will also work to ensure that no one is forced to support or participate in abortion, whether through directly providing or referring for abortions or being forced to subsidize them with their tax dollars. As this discussion continues we look forward to working with the Administration and other policy makers to advance this goal.


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SOURCE U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
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