Rochester Catholic Nurses present

Blessed Hanna Chrzanowska, RN – A Nurse of Mercy


On September 5, 2019 Rochester, New York members of the National Association of Catholic Nurses, U.S.A. hosted Dr. Gosia Brykczynska, PhD, RN, OCV, International Speaker and Author at the St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry where she shared about the extraordinary life and legacy of Blessed Hanna Chrzanowska, RN, the first lay Registered Nurse to be beatified. Dr. Gosia Brykczynska, PhD, RN, OCV is a member of the Krakow Catholic Association of Nurses and Midwives, the UK Association of Nurses and Midwives, the International Committee of Catholic Nurses and Medico-Social Assistants and the Guild of Catholic Writers. She is the English biographer for Blessed Hanna Chrzanowska, RN and both participated in Blessed Hanna’s beatification ceremony on April 28, 2018 and led the 1st International Pilgrimage walking in the footsteps of Blessed Hanna attended jointly by members of the Irish, English and United States Catholic Nurses Associations.

Joan Ribley Borck, President Albany Council, Jackie Tomko & JoAnn Critelli, Rochester Members, Gosia Brykczynska, In’tl Speaker & Author & Diana Ruzicka, President, NACN-USA

Good News for Nurses’ Conscience Rights Protection


Carolyn Laabs, PhD, MA, FNP-BC, RN
Chair, Ethics & Spirituality Committee

It is good to know that at last laws protecting conscience objection to participating in abortion are being enforced. On August 28 the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMC) was put on notice by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) for violating the Church amendments by forcing nurses to assist with abortions against their moral objections. Upon an investigation by the OCR, the UVMC  was found to have intentionally and knowingly scheduled nurses and other health care personnel  who have documented religious and moral objections to assist with abortion. UVMC has one month to change its policies and procedures and must take immediate steps to remedy the effect of its discriminatory practices or risk losing federal funds. [READ MORE] 
SELECT HERE for the Notice of Violation Letter to UVMC

Opposition to “Group of Six” Medical Associations


Protect the Unborn and Our Healthcare Right of Conscience

[ SELECT HERE TO READ the Press Release

The National Association of Catholic Nurses, U.S.A (NACN-USA). has joined with the Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA), American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds), Catholic Medical Association (CMA), the Coptic Medical Association and the National Catholic Bioethics Center to protect the unborn and our healthcare right of conscience in opposition to statements made by leading medical associations, the “Group of Six.”

The “Group of Six,” which we are speaking out against, is comprised of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Osteopathic Association. Their statements can be read here and here We join our physician colleagues because what physicians do and support affects our nursing practice.

Our joint statement was mailed to the “Group of Six” on Wednesday, July 24, 2019, the Feast of St. Sharbel Makhluf, Hermit of the Maronite Catholic Church in Lebanon (1928-1898) through whose intercession over 350 miraculous cures were reported over a 3 month period in 1950 to include 119 that were certified as incurable and 20 of which were Muslim people. St. Sharbel please intercede for us for a miracle — bring the hearts and minds of all health care professional in the United States and across the world back to the Truth, which is Jesus Christ.

May our joint letter, which was also delivered to The White House, result in protection for the unborn and our healthcare right of conscience. (7/24/2019)

SELECT HERE TO READ the Joint Letter in Rebuttal of “The Group of Six”

NACN-USA Urges FDA to Find Alternatives to Immunizations Grown in Aborted Fetal Cells

While alternative vaccines exist in the United States for polio, rabies and shingles, there are no ethically-produced alternatives for the Hepatitis A, MMR and Varivax vaccines. Specififcally, the rubella portion of the MMR uses RA27/3 virus which was cultivated on the WI-38 cell line, both of which involved nearly 100 elective abortions in the research and development. Likewise, the Varivax (chickenpox) vaccine also uses both WI-38 and yet another aborted fetal cell line, MRC-5, which was developed in the UK and is also used in Hepatitis-A.” (Excerpt from FDA letter below)
SELECT HERE for the CHART – Aborted Fetal Cell Lines and Alternative Immunizations provided by Debi Vinnedge, President and Execuitve Director of Children of God for Life, the Pro-Life World Leader in the Campaign for Ethical Vaccines, Medicine and Consumer Products

The National Association of Catholic Nurses, U.S.A (NACN-USA). has joined with The Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann, Archbishop of Kansas City, Kansas; The Most Reverend John Doerfler, Bishop of Marquette;, The Most Reverend Frank Dewane, Bishop of Venice, Debi Vinnedge, President and Executive Director Children of God for Life, the Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA), Catholic Medical Association (CMA), American College of Pediatricians, National Association of Pro-Life Nurses, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), Center for Disease Control (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (2007-2011), the National Catholic Bioethics Center, Catholic Health Services of Long Island, Franciscan Alliance, Inc, Servants of Relief for Incurable Cancer, and Little Sisters of the Poor of Chicago and Brooklyn in petitioning Norman E. Sharpless, MD, Acting Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration in providing ethically-produced vaccines.

May our joint letter, result in morally acceptable alternate immunizations and medications. (7/22/2019)

SELECT HERE TO READ the Joint Letter to the FDA requesting ethically-produced immunizations”

NACN-USA Requests the AMA Oppose Assisted Suicide & Assisted Death”

(PAS & PAD) At the American Medical Association House of Delegates meeting in Chicago next week, June 8-12, 2019 the AMA will consider again whether to change its position of opposition to Physician Assisted Suicide to a position of one of neutrality. In addition, the delegates from the state of New Mexico have proposed (resolution #20) to change the terminology to that of “Physician Assisted Dying” and are recommending a position of “engaged neutrality.”

       Below and attached is the letter that the National Association of Catholic Nurses, U.S.A. sent to the CEJA (Council of Ethical and Judicial Affairs) and each of the officers and board of trustees of the AMA, on your behalf last week. 

       Today, email the AMA directly requesting they continue to maintain their position of “opposition” to both Physician Assisted Suicide and Physician Assisted Dying. The statement could be as simple as:
       As a registered nurse, I sincerely request that the American Medical Association maintain your position of “opposition” to both
       “Physician Assisted Suicide” and “Physician Assisted Dying.”

You have the permission to share and letter and any or all of the contents of the NACN-USA letter, designed by our Ethics & Spirituality Committee, may be used in your correspondence. Please hold up our physician colleagues in prayer next week as they decide whether to uphold a culture of life in medicine.

SELECT HERE TO READ the NACN-USA letter to AMA – Maintain position of Opposition to PAS & PAD

SELECT HERE TO READ New Mexico Delegation’s Resolution #20 to Change “Assisted Suicide” to “Assisted Dying” and Adopt a Position of “Engaged Neutrality.”

SELECT HERE for Email Addresses to CEJA and AMA Leadership

Marie Hilliard, RN, MS, MA, JCL,PhD, Immediate Past President, NACN-USA

NACN-USA Joins Coalition Opposing the HR5 the misnamed “Equality Act”

“Equality Act” – Coordinated by the Heritage Foundation, the NACN-USA  joined the Pro-Life OBGYNs, Catholic Medical Association, National Catholic Bioethics Center, American College of Pediatricians, Christian Medical Association, and the Physicians Resource Council of Focus on the Family in co-signing a letter to the Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives expressing multiple grave concerns with HR 5, the Equality Act which elevates sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories under the federal Civil Rights Act. The bill would effectively mandate that all health care professionals perform and pay for “transition-affirming therapies” against their best medical judgment. The bill includes no conscience protections and explicitly removes recourse to the Religious Freedom Protection Act (RFRA).
 The letter was presented on the hill by Member and Immediate Past President, Dr. Marie Hilliard. The letter was re-circulated to the Education and Labor Committee on April 8, as they will be discussing the bill as well.
SELECT HERE TO READ the Coalition Letter Opposing HR5 Equality Act

NACN-USA Provides Comments on the American Nurses Association Proposed Position Statement: “The Nurse’s Role when a Patient Requests Aid in Dying”

Select here to read the ANA Proposed Position Statement on Aid in Dying

SELECT HERE TO READ the NACN-USA Comments to the ANA Proposed Statement
Listen to Colleen Kelly Mast’s radio program from March 30, 2019, “Mast Appeal.”
***UPDATED***
On June 22, 2019, the American Nurses Association (ANA) issued a new position statement, “The Nurse’s Role When a Patient Requests Medical Aid in Dying,” which supersedes all their previous statements on this topic in which they have been staunchly opposed to assisted suicide.
In this new statement, their stated goal is, “not to frame a stance for or against medical aid in dying but rather to frame the nurse’s compassionate response within the scope of practice, based on the Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements.” However, to change from opposition to “no stance” one must now be open to what previously was unacceptable. And so they are. [READ STATEMENT]

NACN-USA Letter in Opposition to the New Jersey Senate Bill S1072 “Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act”aka Assisted Suicide / Euthanasia

Letter to NJ Governor in Opposition to S1072 [READ HERE]
Letter to Senator Vitale, Chair, NJ Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee” [SELECT HERE].
Information Flyer to Share – Oppose Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act” (A1504/S1072) [DOWNLOAD HERE and SHARE]
New Jersey Senate Bill 1072 “Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act” sponsored by Sen. Nicholas Scutari [D] [READ HERE]
Assembly Bill 1504, sponsored by Rep. John Burzichelli[D], Rep. Timothy Eustace [D], Rep Joe Danielsen [?], Rep John McKeon [D], Rep. Gabriela Mosquera [D], Rep. Angelica Jimenez [D], Rep. Annette Chaparro [D], Rep. Gordon Johnson [D], Rep. Mila Jasey [D], Rep. Jamel Holley [D], Rep. Carol Murphy [D], was reported out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee with Amendments on March 12, 2018 by a vote of 5 Yes and 2 No votes. This bill will go before the full Assembly for Vote.
The companion, Senate Bill 1072, sponsored by Sen. Nicholas Scutari [D], is currently before the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. Please contact your senators and assemblymen to oppose the legalization of assisted suicide in New Jersey. The next hearing is on May 24. Above are the NACN-USA letters to the governor and each of the members of the Senate Committee. Also above is a Flyer with key points to share and a copy of the Senate version of the Bill. (posted 5/5/2018)

NACN-USA Provides Comments on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Rule Protecting the Religious Freedom and Conscience Rights of Healthcare Practitioners, Professionals and Organizations

by co-signing a letter drafted by First Liberty in collaboration with Dr. Marie Hilliard, President-Elect and Dr. Carolyn Laabs, Chair Ethics & Spirituality Committee.
SELECT HERE TO READ Joint Comments with First Liberty on HHS Rule
RIN 0945-ZA03-Proposed Rule from HHS
Note a point of clarification in religious liberty cases. Referral vs Transfer of Care. No one should be forced to refer a patient for a morally objectionable procedure. A referral is equal to having done an morally objectionable procedure ones self because one intends that procedure be carried out by another. This is called formal cooperation in evil and it is the foundation by which some physicians in Vermont were able to get a stipulated agreement that they would not have to refer for physician assisted suicide when they were being forced to do so. A referral for a morally objectionable procedure is akin to hiring a hitman. In other words one arranges for someone else to do what one considers to be immoral.
It is advisable for persons to transfer care to a provider selected by the patient. Information in the patient’s medical record is information over which the patient has a right, as is the patient’s body their property right. Transferring the care of that patient to someone they select with their medical record morally is quite different from a referral. No one should be forced to refer, and while not abandoning a patient their care can be transferred to a provider of the patients preference/selection. (Clarification from Dr. Marie Hilliard, Director of Bioethics & Public Policy, National Catholic Bioethics Center & NACN-USA President Elect). 3/27/2018

NACN-USA Provides Comments on the American Nurses Association DRAFT Policy Statement on Discrimination

ANA Draft PS on Discrimination [SELECT HERE TO READ]
NACN-USA Comments to ANA PS on Discrimination [SELECT HERE TO READ]
Thank you to Dr. Carolyn Laabs, PhD, MA, FNP-BC, RN, Chair, Ethics and Spirituality Committee and committee members Dr. Marie Hilliard, MS, MA, JCL, PhD, RN and Brother Ignatius Perkins, OP, PhD, FAAN for your contributions. Deadline for submission of comments is Tuesday, March 13, 2018.

Nurses Testifying at the New Jersey Statehouse against Assisted Suicide

NJ Assembly Bill 1504 – Legalizing Physician Assisted Suicide [READ HERE]
Read Michael Symons article, “Physician-Assisted Suicide Up for Debate Again in NJ“.  Note Dr. Patricia Sayers is seen in the center of the photo, short hair, in black.
Monday, March 12, 2018, Dr. Marian (Mimi) Nowak, DNP, MPH, RN, CSN, FCN, FAAN represented the National Association of Catholic Nurses, U.S.A. in testifying against proposed legislation legalizing assisted suicide in the state of New Jersey. Also testifying were members Dr. Patricia Sayers, DNP, RN and Patricia Staley, MSN, RN. Testimony:
SELECT HERE TO READ the testimony of Dr. Marian (Mimi) Nowak, DNP, MPH, RN, CSN, FCN, FAAN on behalf of NACN-USA in Opposition to the Legalization of Physician Assisted Suicide

Dr. Patricia Sayers, DNP, RN

Dr. Marian Nowak, DNP, MPH, RN, CSN, FCN , FAAN (Testifying at the UN)

SELECT HERE TO READ the written testimony of Dr. Patricia Sayers, DNP, RN in Opposition to the Legalization of Physician Assisted Suicide

Helping Nurses to Live the Faith

Marylee J. Meehan, RN, MA
President Emeritus, International Catholic Committee of Nurses and Medico-Social Assistants (CICIAMS) appointed by the Holy See
Member, Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Assistance of Healthcare Workers (2011-2017),
appointed by Pope Benedict
President, CICIAMS (2007-2012)
President, NACN-USA (1996-1998)
One of the Founders NACN-USA the successor of NCCN founded in the early 1930’s

Read interview in Marian Helper Magazine [SELECT HERE]

The National Association of Catholic Nurses, U.S.A.
Joined with 25,000 Physicians Fighting Proposed Global Abortion Policy
to Strip Conscience Rights Protections

SELECT HERE TO READ the Joint Letter to AMA in Opposition to the WMA Proposed Changes

SELECT HERE TO READ the Response from AMA and their position

The World Medical Association (WMA) representing 10 million physicians worldwide is poised to approve a policy that would demand doctors refer for abortion, even against their conscience. See above for the difference between Referral and Transfer of Care.

The WMA was founded in 1947 in response to Nazi atrocities during World War II. The organization promotes itself as “evaluating and codifying ethics in healthcare.” Currently the WMA policy requires doctors ensure continuity of care for patients who choose abortion, but does not force doctors to refer for abortions. However the WMA’s proposed revision proposes the following amendments:
“Individual doctors have a right to conscience objection to providing or referral for abortion, but that right does not entitle them to impede or deny access to lawful abortion services because it delays care for women, putting their health and life at risk. In such cases, the physician must refer the woman to a willing and trained health professional in the same, or another easily accessible health-care facility, in accordance with national law. Where referral is not possible, the physician who objects, must provide safe abortion or perform whatever procedure is necessary to save the woman’s life and to prevent serious injury to her health.”

The proposed changes in policy would also eliminate the provision that “requires the physician to maintain respect for human life.”

The NACN-USA is jointly sent the above letter co-written by: American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Pediatricians, Catholic Medical Association, Christian Medical & Dental Associations, and The National Catholic Bioethics Center to the AMA strongly denouncing the WMA’s proposed change forcing physicians to refer for or conduct abortions.

The general assembly of the WMA is scheduled to vote in October.
SELECT HERE for 2006 Oslo Declaration / SELECT HERE for 2017 Proposed Revisions
Posted 2/13/2018

Our Lady of Lourdes (the Immaculate Conception) with Bernadette at Lourdes, France, 1858

World Day of the Sick
February 11, 2018

Sunday February 11 is World Day of the Sick. Introduced by Saint Pope John Paul II, observation of this day is a way to offer prayers for those suffering from illnesses of all kinds, those who care for the sick, and, indeed, for all people of good will. Pope Saint John Paul II inaugural message
This day of prayer coincides with the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes. The theme for this year’s World Day of the Sick is provided by the words that Jesus spoke from the Cross to Mary, his Mother, and to John: “Woman, behold your son … Behold your mother. And from that hour the disciple took her into his home” (Jn 19:26-27). To read Pope Francis’s message for the 26th World Day of the Sick 2018 and for his Apostolic Blessing Pope Francis’ 2018 Message
Please join the NACN-USA in this, “special time of prayer and sharing, of offering one’s suffering for the good of the Church and of reminding everyone to see in his sick brother or sister the face of Christ who, by suffering, dying and rising, achieved the salvation of mankind.” (Letter Instituting the World Day of the Sick, 13 May 1992, n. 3). (Posted 2/9/2018)

National Sanctity of Human Life Day – January 22

On the Day of the 45th Annual March for Life, The President proclaimed January 22 the National Sanctity of Human Life Day.
SELECT HERE TO Read the National Sanctity of Human Life Day Proclamation

2018 – HHS Actions to Protect Conscience Rights of Americans

Following comments submitted by NACN-USA and many other organizations in November and December (see below), in January 2018 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced:
>>>Two major actions to protect life and conscience rights of Americans
1) New guidance to state Medicaid directors restoring state flexibility to decide program standards. The letter issued rescinds 2016 guidance that specifically restricted states’ ability to take certain actions against family-planning provider that offer abortion services.
2) HHS’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced a new proposed rule to enforce 25 existing statutory conscience protections for American involved in HHS-funded programs, which protect people from being coerced into participating in activities that violate their consciences, such as abortion, sterilization, or assisted suicide [Read More HERE]. (1/19/2018) [Read More HERE]
>>>The formation of a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division in the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The Conscience and Religious Freedom Division has been established to restore federal enforcement of our nation’s laws that protect the fundamental and unalienable right of conscience and religious freedom [Read More HERE]. (1/18/2018)
SELECT HERE TO File a Complaint with HHS new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division

Carolyn Laabs, PhD, MA, FNP-BC, RN
Chair, Ethics & Spirituality Committee

Comments to Interim Final Rules – Religious & Moral Accommodations Under the Affordable Care Act

On Friday, October 13, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services requested comments on their interim final rules with a deadline of December 5, 2017 which addressed:
Religious Exemptions and Accommodations for Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act (RIN 0938-AT20)
SELECT HERE TO READ NACN-USA Letter to HHSReligious Accommodations
Moral Exemptions and Accommodations for Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act (RIN 0938-AT46)
SELECT HERE TO READ NACN-USA Letter to HHSMoral Accommodations
Please see at the tabs above for comments drafted by Dr. Carolyn Laabs, Chair Ethics and Spirituality Committee and forwarded to HHS. These are well thought out, gracious and logical discussion points that could be used by many of our members as we work to promote a culture of life. Thank you Carolyn.
(posted 1/18/2018 – The day before the ProLife March in Washington, D.C.)

Carolyn Laabs, PhD, MA, FNP-BC, RN
Chair, Ethics & Spirituality Committee

Ellen Gianoli, BSN, PHN, RN,
Pacific Regional Director

Abortion Pill Reversal Program – CA BRN will Again Grant CEUs

The California Board of Registered Nurses has reversed their decision to rescind CEU’s from Heartbeat International’s Abortion Pill Reversal course [Read Article #1]. In a written letter sent Dec. 19, the California Board of Registered Nursing notified Heartbeat International that it can now grant continuing education units (CEUs) to nurses who study a life-saving process known as Abortion Pill Reversal [Read Article #2]. NACN-USA joined Heartbeat International in their request for the CA BRN to continuing awarding CEs. This is a wonderful Christmas gift. See letter below composed by Dr. Carolyn Laabs, PhD, MA, FNP-BC, RN, Chair, Ethics and Spirituality Committee in collaboration with Ellen Gianoli, BSN, MPH, RN, Pacific Regional Director who brought this issue to the attending of NACN-USA. We thank the CA BRN for their thoughtful reconsideration.
Learn more about the Abortion Pill Reversal and opportunities serve on call [SELECT HERE]. 12/22/2017
Read NACN-USA Letter to the California Board of Nursing

Masterpiece Cakeshop, LTD and Jack C. Phillips vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

Dr. Carolyn Laabs, PHD, MA, FNP-BC, RN at the Dinner following the Supreme Court Brief

Dr. Marie Hilliard, PhD, MS, MA, JCL, RN
President-Elect, NACN-USA

NACN-USA in collaboration with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Colorado Catholic Conference, Catholic Bar Association, Catholic Medical Association (CMA), and the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) signed on to the AMICUS Brief in the Masterpiece Cakeshop, LTD and Jack C. Phillips vs. the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The question presented was “Whether applying Colorado’s public accommodations law to compel an artist to create expression that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage violates the Free Speech or Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment. This case was heard by the Supreme Court of the United States of America on December 5, 2017. Dr. Carolyn Laabs, PhD, MA, FNP-BC, RN, Chair, Ethics and Spirituality Committee represented the NACN-USA at the dinner hosted by the Phillips family following the Supreme Court hearing. [READ MORE] Posted 12/5/2017 Masterpiece Cakeshope AMICUS Brief
Oral Arguments to SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) from Alliance for Defensing Freedom SELECT HERE

HHS Removing Barriers to Participate in HHS Programs

Carolyn Laabs, PhD, MA, FNP-BC, RN
Chair, Ethics & Spirituality Committee

NACN-USA in collaboration with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop and other organizations provided comments on Removing Barriers for Religious and Faith-Based Organizations to Participate in HHS Programs and Receive Public Funding.
The HHS sought comments from faith-based organizations and other interested parties to inform HHS on how it may best identify and remove regulatory or other barriers in order for these institutions to participate in HHS-funded or regulated programs, strengthen partnership and faith-based organizations to improve service delivery to the American people, and ensure faith-based organizations are affirmatively accommodated and not excluded from publicly funded or conducted programs or activities because of HHS requirements that burden or interfere with their religious character or exercise. (11/24/2017)
Read Comments to HHS to Remove Barrier for Participation in HHS Programs

Carolyn Laabs, PhD, MA, FNP-BC, RN
Chair, Ethics & Spirituality Committee

HHS DRAFT Strategic Plan FY 2018-2022

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) solicited input to the HHS DRAFT Strategic Plan FY 2018-2022 with this message [Select here]. Comments are due by October 27, 2017. Thank you Dr. Carolyn Laabs, PhD, MA, FNP-BC, RN, Chair, Ethics and Spirituality Committee for your excellent work drafting the NACN-USA comments to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) draft Strategic Plan. 10/23/2017
Read NACN-USA Comments to HHS Strategic Plan

Carolyn Laabs, PhD, MA, FNP-BC, RN
Chair, Ethics & Spirituality Committee

NACN-USA Comments regarding the draft ANA Position Statement “A Call to Action: Cultivating Moral Resilience and A Culture of Ethical Practice”

The ANA received comment on its draft revision on their position on the Cultivating Moral Resilience and A Culture of Ethical Practice. Thank you Carolyn Laabs, PhD, MA, FNP-BC, RN (Chair) and the Ethics and Spirituality Committee for formulating our comments.
SELECT HERE for the NACN-USA comments on the ANA Position onCultivating Moral Resilience and A Culture of Ethical Practice>>> 9/12/2017

United Nations Human Rights Committee proposes to exclude the Unborn from a Right to Life

The United Nations Human Rights Committee (UN HRC) has composed a draft of a General Comment to Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 6 addresses the Right to Life. The UN HRC is inviting comments on this draft. A major concern of this draft is that it clearly excludes the unborn from a right to life and, thus, imposes a worldwide right to abortion. The General Comment is accessible at THIS LINK
Read the UN-HRC Comments on Article 6, “Right to Life” – HERE

The Center for Family and Human Rights has composed a response to the UN HRC and invites others to sign their petition. Please consider signing the petition and encourage the UN HRC to recognize the right to life from conception until natural death. The petition can be found on this link:
***Sign the C-FAM petition supporting the Unborn Child’s Right to Life*** – SELECT HERE
9/5/2017

NACN-USA Joins the USCCB and 32 other Organizations in a Joint Letter to Congress to Urge the Passage of Conscience Protection Act of 2017

Joint Letter to Congress – SELECT HERE
The National Association of Catholic Nurses, U.S.A. joined the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and thirty-two other major pro-life, religious, and health care organizations on September 6 urging the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to pass the Conscience Protection Act of 2017 (H.R. 644/S. 301). Signatories include numerous medical groups representing tens of thousands of health care professionals who object to abortion and are seeking legal protection to serve their patients in good conscience. (Read the letter at tab above).

“Federal laws protecting conscientious objection to abortion have been approved for decades by Congresses and Presidents of both parties. Even many ‘pro-choice’ Americans realize that the logic of their position requires them to respect a choice not to be involved in abortion,” they wrote. “Yet, with violations of federal conscience laws occurring in California, New York, Washington, Alaska, Illinois, and most recently Oregon, it is increasingly clear that the current laws offer far less protection in practice than in theory.”

The Conscience Protection Act (H.R. 644/S. 301), introduced in the House on January 24 by Reps. Diane Black (R-TN) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), and in the Senate on February 3 by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), addresses several “loopholes” in current federal laws that have allowed violations of conscience rights to continue. The letter cites a 2014 California mandate requiring almost all health plans in the state to pay for elective abortions in direct violation of the Weldon amendment and the subsequent failure of the HHS Office of Civil Rights to enforce Weldon. It also cites the government’s failure to vindicate the rights of New York nurse Cathy DeCarlo after she was pressured to assist at a late-term abortion.

The joint letter highlights the modest nature of the bill, explaining that it “would mean almost no change in the substantive policy of Congress” but “would be an enormous step forward in assuring Americans who serve the sick and needy that they can do so without being forced by government to violate their most deeply held convictions on respect for innocent human life.”

The full text of the letter is available at:
More information on the bishops’ promotion of conscience rights is available at: www.usccb.org/conscience.

Thank you USCCB for sharing your press release above.

NACN-USA petitions US Supreme Court to End Surrogacy Contracts which Treat the Child as a Commodity Similar to Human Trafficking

The National Association of Catholic Nurses, U.S.A. has joined other organizations, respectful of human life and the dignity of human procreation, in filing a friend of the court (Amicus) brief to the US Supreme Court demonstrating the detrimental effects on the child, and the vulnerable gestational mother, of Surrogacy Contracts. The goal is to have such contracts declared unconstitutional.

Read attached brief [SELECT HERE]

NACN-USA Urges AMA NOT to change their policy of opposition to physician assisted suicide

Carolyn Laabs, PhD, MA, FNP-BC, RN
Chair, Ethics & Spirituality Committee

In June 2016, at the annual meeting, the 540 members of the American Medical Association (AMA) house of delegates, representing all facets of the house of medicine, voted to ask the board of trustees to study the issue of physician assisted suicide. The board has referred the item to the AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, which will conduct an in-depth literature review, and will ultimately report back to the house of delegates. Currently the AMA Code of Medical Ethics opposes physician assisted suicide. At present, there is no item of business pending before the AMA house of delegates which would call for a change in the AMA policy. The deadline to provide comment to the AMA CEJA is August 14, 2017. The AMA meeting will be held on August 16-19. Write to the Secretary Elliot Crigger at elliott.crigger@ama-assn.org 7/30/2017 NACN-USA Letter #2 to the AMA CEJA PAS Documents Assembled by the Ethics & Spirituality Committee

The NACN-USA Shares the Concerns of The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) for Charlie Gard and His Parents


NCBC Statement on the Charlie Gard Case>>>

The NCBC statement reminds us to look to the teachings of the Catholic Church for guidance. This is excellent advice. They can be found, for example, in the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services and in papal documents such as Evangelium Vitae, as well as in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. As the NCBC states, cases that rely on media reports, like this, are difficult to analyze. We simply do not know all the facts and probably never will. Furthermore, when cases become highly publicized and emotionally charged, it makes it even more difficult to sort through even the facts that we know. Thus, we need to be humble in our judgments and pray for grace and wisdom.

From the perspective of the Catholic nurse, besides knowing the facts of the case and understanding the teachings of the Church, this case reminds us of the importance of recognizing and acknowledging the suffering of everyone involved, in particular Charlie and his parents. This means, besides doing all we can to respect life and alleviate suffering, taking on the difficult but essential task of finding proper meaning in suffering. These are times when people tend to ask profound questions like, “How can a good and loving God allow something like this to happen?” Here is where the Catholic nurse accompanies the patient and parents in their suffering, advocates for them, such that they do not feel abandoned by God or by anybody else, but especially not abandoned by God. We need to be humble in our judgments and pray for grace and wisdom.
7/08/2017

Carolyn Laabs, PhD, MA, FNP-BC, RN
Chair, Ethics & Spirituality Committee

NACN-USA Comments regarding the draft ANA Position Statement on The Ethical Responsibility to Manage Pain and Suffering

The ANA received comment on its draft revision on their position on the Ethical Responsibility to Management Pain and Suffering. Thank you Carolyn Laabs, PhD, MA, FNP-BC, RN (Chair) and the Ethics and Spirituality Committee for formulating our comments.
SELECT HERE for the NACN-USA comments on the ANA Position onthe Ethical Responsibility to Manage Pain and Suffering>>> 7/06/2017

USCCB Convocation of Catholic LeadersThe Joy of the Gospel in AmericaJuly 1-4, 2017, Orlando, Florida

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops convened an unprecedented gathering of key leaders from dioceses and Catholic organizations from across the country in order to assess the challenges and opportunities of our time, particularly in the context of the Church in the United States. The gathering assembled Catholic leaders for a strategic conversation, under the leadership of the bishops, on forming missionary disciples to animate the Church and to engage the culture.
Inspired by Evangelii Gaudium, the Convocation’s goal was to form leaders who will be equipped and re-energized to share the Gospel as missionary disciples, while offering fresh insights informed by new research, communications strategies, and successful models. Guided by Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation on the proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world, diocesan delegations and leaders of National Catholic organizations reflected on various topics. Several of the plenary sessions, masses and devotions are available online on the USCCB website [Select HERE]. The NACN-USA President is pictured in blue to the left in part one of the Eucharist Procession (28:08-28:26).
Diana Ruzicka, RN, MSN, MA, MA, CNS-BC, President, Dr. Marie Hilliard, MS, MA, JCL, PhD, RN, President-Elect and Alma Abuelouf, BSN, RN, Southeast Regional Director (2012-2014 President) attended the historic USCCB Convocation of Catholic leaders held in Orlando, Florida July 1-4, 2017. Marie also represented the National Catholic Bioethics Center. Alma was present as a delegate from Bishop Martin D. Holley’s Diocese of Memphis.

USCCB Convocation of Catholic Leaders — NACN-USA Display
Dr. Marie Hilliard, MA, MS, JCL, PhD, RN, President-Elect, Diana Ruzicka, MSN, MA, MA, CNS-BC, RN, President & Alma Abuelouf, BSN, RN, Southeast Regional Director (2012-2014 President)

SELECT HERE for Dr. Marie Hilliard, MS, MA, JCL, PhD’s Observation of President Diana Ruzicka, RN, MSN, MA, MA, CNS-BC’s Presentation on the Health Care Panel>>>
Recognizing that the peripheries in our Church are greatly varied, the breakout sessions in Round B offered the opportunity to more thoroughly examine and discuss groups on the margins in the ministry and life of the Church in the United States. The President, NACN-USA was blessed to present on the July 3, 2017, breakout panel (B18) — Catholic Health Care: Ministering to the Spiritual and Physical Needs of All People. Catholic health care offers a distinct ministry, following the example of Christ, the Great Physician. This session discussed the unique role of Catholic health care, which cares for the physical as well as the spiritual needs of all people. >

Bishop James Conley, Diocese of Lincoln, Opening in Prayer and giving Opening Remarks.
Dr. Steve White, CMA & Lead Panelist (blocked from view), Archbishop Peter Smith (Portland), Diana Ruzicka (Pres. NACN-USA), Bradley Hahn (Solidarity HealthShare), David Archer (Christian Brothers Univ.), Louis Brown (CMF CURO), John Brehany (NCBC), Dr. Marie-Alberte Boursiquot (Pres. CMA) (Thank you Dianne Marie Johnson, RN of Curatio: an Apostolatefor Catholic Health Care Workers for sharing your photo.)

Below is the text of the presentation
SELECT HERE for the President, NACN-USA, Catholic Health Care Panel Presentation>>> We all have the opportunities and responsibility to transform the culture of healthcare as missionary disciples bringing the Truth, that is Jesus Christ, to our practice. May we all implement Pope Francis’ call in Evangelii Gaudium (Joy of the Gospel) to enter a new phase of evangelization as missionary disciples bringing the joy of the Gospel to all people.

Thank you to the CCHD and the USCCB Pro-life Secretariat for scholarships which enabled NACN-USA to attend this historic meeting.
7/1-4/2017

Conscience Protection Act of 2017 (H.R. 644)

The Conscience Protection Act (CPA) of 2017 (H.R. 644) has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Diane Black (R-TN) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and in the Senate (S. 301) by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK). This much-needed, common-sense legislation addresses several “loopholes” in current federal laws that have allowed violations of conscience rights to continue and would ensure that those who provide health care and health coverage can continue to do so without being forced by government to help destroy innocent unborn children.
Letter to the House of Representatives on CPA 2017>>>

6/12/2017

NACN-USA Comments Regarding POLST & Pew Charitable Trusts Letter to Secretary Price

Carolyn Laabs, PhD, MA, FNP-BC, RN
Chair, Ethics & Spirituality Committee

NACN-USA Letter to Secretary Price regarding POLST>>>

A Letter from the Campaign for Truth in Advance Care Planning
signed by many NACN-USA members regarding POLST>>>

5/30/2017

Dr. Marie Hilliard, PhD, MS, MA, JCL, RN
Recording Secretary, NACN-USA

NACN-USA Urges AMA NOT to change their policy of opposition to physician assisted suicide

In June 2016, at the annual meeting, the 540 members of the American Medical Association (AMA) house of delegates, representing all facets of the house of medicine, voted to ask the board of trustees to study the issue of physician assisted suicide. The board has referred the item to the AMA council on ethical and judicial affairs, which will conduct an in-depth literature review, and will ultimately report back to the house of delegates. Currently the AMA Code of Medical Ethics opposes physician assisted suicide. At present, there is no item of business pending before the AMA house of delegates which would call for a change in the AMA policy. 2/23/2017 NACN-USA Letter to the AMA Report from the AMA 2017 Meeting

NACN-USA MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

Marylee Meehan, Vatican Swiss Guard, H.E. Monsignor Zygmunt Zimowski, President PCHCW & Dr. J.M. Simon, President World Federation of the Catholic Medical Associations

Marylee Meehan, Vatican Swiss Guard, H.E. Monsignor Zygmunt Zimowski, President PCHCW & Dr. J.M. Simon, President World Federation of the Catholic Medical Associations

Gratitude to an NACN Member and Past President from the Vatican

Dear Ms Meehan,

photo 4 cropI am writing to you to express my personal gratitude and that of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (for Health Pastoral Care) for the nearness and solidarity that you demonstrated to us on the occasion of the death of our President, Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski. He bore further valuable witness in his determination ‘not to descend from the cross’ and in his valuing of the salvific aspect of suffering, in full adherence to his, and our, model and founder, St. John Paul II.

Your nearness, kind friend, on an occasion that was so painful for all of us who have lost him in this world, greatly comforted us at the Pontifical Council, the men and women who work with us, and all of those who are near to us, and you confirmed that sense of being a great family that unites health-care workers, both professionals and volunteers, and people who suffer in all countries and in the five continents of the world…

Read Full Letter >>>

(Marylee Meehan is a member of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (Health Pastoral Care) to which she was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011. She is also a Past President of CICIAMS, 2008-2010 and NACN-USA, 1996-1998)

COL Diana Ruzicka, USA Retired, RN, MSN (Oncology & Administration), MA (Army War College), MA (Theology-pending Thesis), CNS-BC

COL Diana Ruzicka, USA Retired, RN, MSN (Oncology & Administration), MA (Army War College), MA (Theology-pending Thesis), CNS-BC

2015 ENDOW – Julia Greeley Award

ENDOW (Educating on the Nature & Dignity of Women) is a lay apostolate of the Catholic Church. Endow offers small study groups as a primary means of connecting women and girls in faith and friendship while exploring Catholic teachings. All nurses would benefit from the study On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering (Salvifici Doloris). [READ MORE]

2014 National Nursing Award for Volunteerism

Dr. Marian Nowak, RN, PhD

Dr. Marian Nowak, RN, PhD

Dr. Marian Nowak, DNP, MSN, MPH, RN, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, Rutgers. The State University of New Jersey – Camden and a member of NACN-USA received the 2014 Nurse.com Nursing Excellence GEM (Giving Excellence Meaning) Award. Nurse.com’s prestigious Nursing Excellence Awards program honors outstanding nurses in regions across the country leading to the selection of National Nurses of the Year. Dr. Nowak is honored for local, national and international volunteer efforts including:
Local Service:  Shelter management during hurricane Sandy, soup kitchen service Camden, NJ, Flu shot administration to disparate population members in Camden, NJ, screening services to migrant workers in central NJ
State & National: Faith Based Nursing initiatives with nursing students,  authored disaster triage method adapted statewide, disaster lecture series in coordination with the Surgeon General Office of Volunteerism, Washington, DC, creative solutions to many public health issues over the years
International Presentations: Disaster Nursing Strategies – China, Japan, Australia, France, and Ireland. Congratulations!

Diana Newman, EdD, RN
2013-Diana Newman, President elect of NACN-USA was interviewed by Msgr Kieran Harrington of Brooklyn, NY on  the radio show “In the Arena” The show aired 10/20/13 and the topic was ” Health Care and the Church.” The discussion centered on the impact of Obamacare on many aspects of health care. Many good points were made relevant to personal choices in the free market in light of Church teaching. The participants spoke in favor of strengthening US citizens’ rights to choose their own health care options and the importance of maintaining fidelity in the relationships between patients, doctors and nurses. Listen to the show

Congratulations To:br_perkins[1]Dr. Marie Hilliard, RN, PhD, JCL

2013- Dr. Marie Hilliard, RN, PhD, JCL, NACN board member and to Brother Ignatius Perkins, OP, PhD, FAAN, RN, Dean of Aquinas College School of Nursing and NACN member. Both were selected to the Advisory Committee to update the American Nurses’ Association Code of Ethics.

Letters & Comments


COMMENTS TO THE AMERICAN NURSES’ ASSOCIATION (ANA)

• SUBJECT: Voluntary Stopping of Eating and Drinking (VSED) [READ ARTICLE][READ COMMENTS]

LETTERS TO CONGRESS

• SUBJECT: Conscience Protection Act of 2016 [READ ARTICLE][READ LETTER]
• SUBJECT: Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA) [READ LETTER]
• SUBJECT: Repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) [READ MORE]

COMMENTS TO THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR STEM CELL RESEARCH

• Comments on the ISSCR-2015 Guidelines for Stem Cell Science and Clinical Translation [READ ARTICLE WITH RESULTS] [READ COMMENTS]

REGULATORY

• 2016-HUD Gender Identity in Community Planning and Development Programs [READ ARTICLE][READ LETTER]
• 2015-HHS Contraceptive Mandate [READ MORE]

LEGISLATION

• S1696-The Women’s Health Protection Act, (Misnomer) [READ MORE]

JUDICIAL & AMICUS BRIEFS

• Stormans v. Wiesman – 2016-Pharmacists’ Conscience Rights [READ ARTICLE]
• Priests for Life v. Department of Health & Human Services [READ MORE][READ CASE]
• Hobby Lobby Stores Incorporated v. Federal Govt. Contraceptive Mandate [READ MORE]
• Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Surgical Health Services, et al., v. Attorney General Gregory Abbott, et al. [READ MORE]
• Planned Parenthood v. Brnovich, Arizona – True Informed Consent [READ MORE] — [READ CASE]
• The School of the Ozarks, Inc v. Right Choice Managed Care, Inc. (Contraceptive Mandate) [READ CASE]
• Little Sisters of the Poor v. Sylvia M. Burwell (HHS Contraceptive Mandate) – December 8, 2014
• Dordt College v. Sylvia M. Burwell (HHS Contraceptive Mandate)[READ APPELLATE CASE]
• Cornerstone University v. Sylvia M. Burwell (HHS Contraceptive Mandate) [READ APPELLATE CASE]
• Archdiocese of St. Louis & Catholic Charities of St. Louis v. Sylvia M. Burwell (HHS Contraceptive Mandate)
• East Texas Baptist University v. Sylvia Matthews-Burwell (HHS Contraceptive Mandate)
• Houston Baptist University v. Sylvia Matthews-Burwell (HHS Contraceptive Mandate)
• Westminster Theological Seminary v. Sylvia Matthews-Burwell (HHS Contraceptive Mandate)
• Planned Parenthood of the Heartland v. Iowa Board of Medicine [READ MORE]
• Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation v. Federal Govt. Contraceptive Mandate [READ MORE]
• Hobby Lobby Stores Incorporated v. Federal Govt. Contraceptive Mandate [READ MORE]
• Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Surgical Health Services, et al., v. Attorney General Gregory Abbott, et al. [READ MORE]
• Horne v. Isaacson [READ MORE]

NEWSLETTERS

• [Read more