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 re-circulated to the Education and Labor Committee on April 8, as they will be discussing the bill as well.
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
Listen to Colleen Kelly Mast’s radio program from March 30, 2019, “Mast Appeal.”
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:
Helping Nurses to Live the Faith
The National Association of Catholic Nurses, U.S.A.
Joined with 25,000 Physicians Fighting Proposed Global Abortion Policy
to Strip Conscience Rights Protections
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.
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.
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
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
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)
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)
Moral Exemptions and Accommodations for Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act (RIN 0938-AT46)
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.)
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
Masterpiece Cakeshop, LTD and Jack C. Phillips vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission
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
HHS Removing Barriers to Participate in HHS Programs
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)
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
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.
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
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:
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 7/30/2017
The NACN-USA Shares the Concerns of The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) for Charlie Gard and His Parents
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.
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.
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.
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. >
Below is the text of the 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.
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.
NACN-USA Comments Regarding POLST & Pew Charitable Trusts Letter to Secretary Price
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
ANA Proposal on Nutrition & Hydration at the End of Life may Damage the Profession of Nursing and Patients IF Adopted
Some concerns follow:
This proposal makes broad generalizations about the withholding of nutrition and hydration. Despite statistical reports about the overall benefit, or lack of benefit, of assisted nutrition and hydration in some cases at the end of life, all cases are case specific, and need to be assessed as such, to determine if assisted nutrition and hydration are proportionately beneficial. Furthermore, there is insufficient data to categorically conclude that patents deprived of nutrition and hydration do not feel the symptoms of such deprivation. If this were true, there would be no need to offer palliation, such as sedation, to such patients. Furthermore, the case of patients Voluntary Stopping of Eating and Drinking (VSED) presents a unique ethical dilemma for the health care provider. What is clear is that while one cannot force feed a patient, legal interventions to determine competency, as well as abuse, need to be initiated in the case VSED. If it is determined that the patient truly has consented to withholding oral feedings that can be assimilated without causing disproportionately harmful side effects, the nurse, and other health care providers, should not cooperate in this direct intention to purposely end one’s life, for example by providing sedation to diminish the sense of deprivation. At the same time all basic care critical to the patient’s wellbeing should be provided by the health care provider, as s/he continues to try to encourage physiologically beneficial nutrition and hydration. While no competent patient should be force fed, health care providers should refuse to participate in such a VSED plan. Basic care never is to be denied a patient, regardless of the decisions patients make. However, autonomy is not limitless, especially if it violates the autonomy of others. Thus, and no health care provider should be forced to participate in the care of a patient engaged in VSED or who is being denied, even with consent, proportionately beneficial assisted nutrition and hydration.
Affirm the Church’s Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality
Gratitude to an NACN Member and Past President from the Vatican
Dear Ms Meehan,
I 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…
(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)
The NACN-U.S.A. Continues to Protect Vulnerable Human Life through Collaborative Public Policy Initiatives with Other Organizations
The National Association of Catholic Nurses-U.S.A. (NACN-U.S.A.) has as one of its objectives “To advocate for those in need through efforts which integrate faith and health.” The hundreds of thousands of abandoned human embryos from in vitro fertility procedures, as well as those engendered for the purpose of research, have no one to speak for them, as many of them are researched upon and destroyed. However, a consortium of advocates for them has done just that, with some success.
Six organizations joined together in a Consortium for Sound Policies Concerning Stem Cell Research in an effort to impact the 2016 Guidelines for Stem Cell Science and Clinical Translation, proposed by the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR). The mission of ISSCR is to: “to promote and foster the exchange and dissemination of information and ideas relating to stem cells, to encourage the general field of research involving stem cells and to promote professional and public education in all areas of stem cell research and application.” While these international researchers attempt to provide ethical parameters for research, the ISSCR Guidelines present ethical concerns for the wellbeing of the embryos upon which they allow research. In response, the NACN-U.S.A. joined The National Catholic Bioethics Center, the National Catholic Partnership on Disability, the Catholic Medical Association, the American College of Pediatricians, and the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam) and provided testimony to ISCCR on their draft 2016 Guidelines for Stem Cell Science and Clinical Translation. In May 2016 the final 2016 Guidelines were released and four critical provisions advocated for by the Consortium were adopted:
1. The origin of stem cells is to be specified in all communications by scientists concerning such cells.
The Consortium’s recommended language has been incorporated into the 2016 Guidelines verbatim: “Due to public interest and concern in the ethics of hESC research, and in order to ensure complete transparency of research and translational activities, the origin of stem cell materials should be clearly specified in all communications.” This includes human, animal, embryonic, cloned, or chimera sources.
2. Pregnant women are to be excluded from early phase stem cell research to protect the fetus.
The Consortium recommended this new guideline which was not in either the 2006 Guidelines or the draft 2016 Guidelines. It is now listed in the new ISSCR 2016 Guidelines in Rec. # 126.96.36.199, p. 20-21 under “Early Phase Trials.”
3. Abortion providers should not be reimbursed for fetal tissue.
4. Donors of eggs (ova) should be limited in the number of cycles for which they are donors (the Consortium recommended a one-cycle limit).
Unfortunately, the Consortium’s other recommendations concerning chimera research, reinstatement of conscientious objection protections, and protections for oocyte donors were not adopted. The right to conscientious objection for researchers and staff was upheld, however, the new 2016 Guidelines have eliminated the stronger wording used in the prior 2006 ISSCR Guidelines, which said that such objectors should be free of retribution or undue discrimination in performance assessments. Here are some of the other provisions of the new 2016 Guidelines:
a) The 14 day limit on growing human embryos in vitro was upheld.
b) A new category of “tissue providers” was added to this section indicating that there is to be no profiting from procurement of aborted fetal tissue: “Medical procedures must not deviate from standard of care solely to facilitate the research use of donated fetal tissues. Physicians and clinics may not profit from the procurement of fetal tissues for research.” (ISCCR 2016 Guidelines, p. 10, Rec. 2.2.6).
c) Payment for medical care for a woman suffering from problems directly resulting from providing oocytes for research, has been eliminated. (It was provided for in the 2006 ISCCR Guidelines, Section 11.5b, vi, but omitted in the new 2016 Guidelines).
d) The 2016 Guidelines approved mitochondrial replacement therapy (p. 8, Rec. 2.1.4), and supported laboratory-based research using genome editing technologies (like CRISPR Cas9) but cautioned that its use in human reproduction should be prohibited (p. 8, Rec. 2.1.4).
NACN-U.S.A.’s voice, in unison with those of each member of the Consortium, demonstrated how such collective efforts can have a significant impact, even if not resulting in a total success for those vulnerable human embryos, whose voice the Consortium carried. (Posted 7/3/2016).
Sound Policy Concerning Stem Cell Research
June 9, 2016
A Consortium of Advocates for Sound Policies Concerning Stem Cell Research Has Some Success in Impacting ISSCR 2016 Guidelines for Stem Cell Science and Clinical Translation
Six organizations joined together in a Consortium advocating for sound research policies, especially as they involve vulnerable human life. The National Catholic Bioethics Center, the National Catholic Partnership on Disability, the National Association of Catholic Nurses – U.S.A., the Catholic Medical Association, the American College of Pediatricians, and the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam) provided testimony to the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISCCR) on their draft 2016 Guidelines for Stem Cell Science and Clinical Translation. In May 2016 the final 2016 Guidelines were released and two critical provisions advocated for by the Consortium were adopted:
The Origin of Stem Cells is to be Specified in All Communications by Scientists Concerning Such Cells. The Consortium’s recommended language has been incorporated into the 2016 Guidelines verbatim: “Due to public interest and concern in the ethics of hESC research, and in order to ensure complete transparency of research and translational activities, the origin of stem cell materials should be clearly specified in all communications.”
· Pregnant Women are to be Excluded from Early Phase Stem Cell Research to Protect the Fetus. The Consortium recommended this new guideline which was not in either the 2006 Guidelines or the draft 2016 Guidelines. It is now listed in the new ISSCR 2016 Guidelines in Rec. # 188.8.131.52, p. 20-21 under “Early Phase Trials.”
Unfortunately, the Consortium’s other recommendations concerning chimera research, reinstatement of conscientious objection protections, and protections for oocyte donors were not adopted. The right to conscientious objection for researchers and staff was upheld, however, the new 2016 Guidelines have eliminated the stronger wording used in the prior 2006 ISSCR Guidelines, which said that such objectors should be free of retribution or undue discrimination in performance assessments. Here are some of the other provisions of the new 2016 Guidelines:
· The 14 day limit on growing human embryos in vitro was upheld.
A new category of “tissue providers” was added to this section indicating that there is to be no profiting from procurement of aborted fetal tissue: “Medical procedures must not deviate from standard of care solely to facilitate the research use of donated fetal tissues. Physicians and clinics may not profit from the procurement of fetal tissues for research.” (ISCCR 2016 Guidelines, p. 10, Rec. 2.2.6).
Payment for medical care for a woman suffering from problems directly resulting from providing oocytes for research, has been eliminated. (It was provided for in the 2006 ISCCR Guidelines, Section 11.5b, vi, but omitted in the new 2016 Guidelines).
The 2016 Guidelines approved mitochondrial replacement therapy (p. 8, Rec. 2.1.4), and supported laboratory-based research using genome editing technologies (like CRISPR Cas9) but cautioned that its use in human reproduction should be prohibited (p. 8, Rec. 2.1.4).
The united efforts by each member of the Consortium demonstrated how such collective efforts can have a significant impact, even if not resulting in a total success for the vulnerable human beings, especially the embryos, whose voice the Consortium carried.
Dr. Marie T. Hilliard, MS (Maternal Child Health Nursing), MA (Religious Studies), JCL (Canon Lawyer), PhD, RN
Director of Bioethics and Public Policy
The National Catholic Bioethics Center
(Posted June 12, 2016)
Joint Letter to Congress: 26 Organizations Urge Passage of Conscience Protection Act of 2016
April 19, 2016
The National Association of Catholic Nurses U.S.A. has joined the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and twenty-five other major pro-life, religious, and health care organizations on April 19 urging the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Conscience Protection Act of 2016 (H.R. 4828). Signatories include ten 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.
“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 it is increasingly clear that the current laws offer far less protection in practice than in theory.”
The Conscience Protection Act (H.R. 4828), introduced on March 22 by Reps. John Fleming, M.D. (R-LA) and Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), addresses several “loopholes” in current federal laws that have allowed violations of conscience rights to continue. The letter cites a recent California mandate for almost all health plans in the state to pay for elective abortions, and 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.” (Posted 4/24/2016)
NACN is improving its services to members. These improvements include a more efficient dues collection process, expanded newsletters, inclusion in social media, and frequent electronic communication. NACN will continue offering National Conferences every one or two years. We are also formalizing the relationship between Councils and the National Organization in order to promote a more cohesive and collaborative organization. This is consistent with other religious and secular national healthcare organizations. These improvements require more financial and personnel resources.
In order to operationalize these improvements, the NACN BOD has voted to increase the National Dues to $50.00 per year for employed members and $40.00 for retired members beginning April 1, 2016. We realize that this is a sacrifice but we feel it is worth it in order to further the mission of NACN. This dues increase is consistent with other national healthcare organizations (in actuality it is lower than most national healthcare organizations). Thank you in advance for your cooperation with this dues increase.(Posted 3/24/2016)
NACN-U.S.A. Expresses Concern about Equal Access in Accordance with Individual’s Gender Identity in Community Planning and Development Programs
NACN-U.S.A. has joined nine other organizations in filing public comment concerning the proposal by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Equal Access in Accordance with an Individual’s Gender Identity in Community Planning and Development Programs. The proposed regulations would forbid discrimination on the basis of “gender identity.” 80 Fed. Reg. at 72648-49 [§ 5.106]. The regulations define the term “gender identity” as “the gender with which a person identifies, regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth.” Id. at 72648 [§ 5.100]. The proposal would mandate that a man who asserts that he is a woman may not be refused access to shared women’s sleeping quarters and bathing areas. Similarly, a woman who asserts that she is a man may not be refused access to shared men’s sleeping quarters and bathing areas. These organizations are expressing concern for the privacy needs and sense of perceived security by persons whom they serve, be it in shelters or the variety of housing services in which vulnerable populations are served by nurses and others, if these regulations are promulgated. (Posted 2/12/2016)
Take Action to Protect Healthcare Conscience by January 15th
There is a critical case going before the United States Supreme Court that threatens religious liberty and healthcare rights of conscience. In Stormans v. Wiesman, the owner of a local pharmacy and two pharmacist challenged a Washington State regulation requiring that they stock and dispense emergency contraceptives that the FDA has warned may cause the death of an embryo after conception. The challengers have a religiously based conscientious objection to purchasing and dispensing the drugs. At issue is whether the State of Washington can force pharmacies to provide services in violation of their religious convictions. A federal court in Washington struck down the State’s regulations as unconstitutional, but on appeal the Ninth Circuit reversed and upheld the law. The implications of this ruling are profound.
The court has undermined vital constitutional protection for all religious practices. This dangerously intrudes on the conscience protections in healthcare, which have been protected in every state so that pharmacists, doctors, nurses, and other health professionals can step aside when asked to participate in what they considered to be an abortion or the intentional taking of human life. And there is no doubt that the court’s legal ruling will have alarming implications for other healthcare professions. Now the challengers are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review this dangerous precedent.
Each health care provider should have the right to draw a moral line and when they do so, it should be respected. That is what is being threatened and that is why we felt compelled to inform you about this opportunity.
YOU CAN HELP OVERTURN THIS DECISION. An amicus curie (friend of the court) brief is being prepared to speak on behalf of healthcare providers informing the court that rights of conscience must be protected. We need thousands of healthcare professionals to sign the brief to clearly communicate the importance this case to the High Court. It will only take 30 seconds of your time. Click here to let your voice be heard. But please act now! We don’t have much time, just until Friday, January 15, so we are going ahead and asking you to sign up today. (Posted 1/8/2016)
NACN-U.S.A Joins Coalition in a Call to Action to Protect Conscience Rights of Health Care Providers, Especially Nurses and Sends a Letter to Congress
Dr. Marie T. Hilliard, Member of the Ethics & Spirituality Committee and a Registered Nurse asks, “What will happen to nurses whose only fault is being unwilling to be compelled by government to be sources of death and destruction?” See below, and take action to protect our sacred profession.
NACN-U.S.A. Continues to Advocate for Religious Freedom — Dordt College & Cornerstone University
Recent Good News: The CNS International Ministries, Inc., Heartland Christian College,[i] Dordt College and Cornerstone University[ii] were granted favorable opinions in the ruling by the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals that their religious liberty had been violated by the HHS Contraceptive Mandate. The National Association of Catholic Nurses-U.S.A. is a signatory to the amicus brief that was before this court in support of Dordt College and Cornerstone University. [Read Appellate Case] (Rec. 9/18/2015).
NACN-U.S.A. Testifies in Opposition to Any Experimental Use of Human Embryonic or Chimeric-derived Stem Cells
The National Association of Catholic Nurses-U.S.A. has joined with other life-affirming national organizations in providing testimony to the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) in response to the Draft Guidelines for Stem Cell Science and Clinical Translation. These organizations include: The National Catholic Bioethics Center; the Catholic Medical Association; the National Catholic Partnership on Disability; the National Association of Catholic Nurses-U.S.A.; the American College of Pediatricians; and the Center for Family and Human Rights. Their thorough analysis cites these organizations’ their strong opposition to any experimental or therapeutic use of human embryonic or chimeric-derived stem cells. In addition, it recommends that the ISSCR Guidelines state a strong preference for stem cell funding, research, and therapies that do NOT utilize human embryonic or chimeric-derived stem cells. (Rec. 9/15/2015)
Support the Religious Freedom of Priests for Life
NACN-U.S.A. also signed on to an amicus brief in support of the religious freedom of Priests for Life. A panel of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals allowed a lower court’s ruling to stand, which denied religious freedom to Priests for Life by forcing the organization to comply with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ employer Contraceptive Mandate. This Mandate violates the religious freedom of this faith-based organization by forcing it to be complicit in providing to its employees contraception, including abortifacient drugs and devices. The Court also denied a request for a full court review of this case, compelling Priests for Life to face the choice of violating their faith or paying huge fines. Priests for Life is now petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene. Religious freedom is the bedrock of this democracy, and the foundation for our very existence as a country. NACN-U.S.A. recognizes that when the religious freedom of one group is violated by the law, all groups, including health care workers of conscience, are vulnerable to similar violations. NACN-U.S.A. is happy to be standing with Priests for Life in support of their religious freedom. (Rec. 8/20/2015)
Support True Informed Consent
NACN-U.S.A. is a party to an amicus brief in the Arizona case, Planned Parenthood v. Brnovich case which is currently pending before the U.S. District Court for the State of Arizona (15-01022). Planned Parenthood et al are challenging the recent amendment to Arizona’s informed consent law that requires abortion providers to inform women that it may be possible to reverse the effects of a chemical abortion, and that time is of the essence. It also directs the Arizona Department of Health to update the state-prepared informed consent materials to provide information on how a woman can contact a physician to help her.
The provision is informational only—it does not regulate the chemical abortion procedure. It simply ensures that, should the woman regret her decision (after ingesting the first drug, mifepristone, but before the second drug, misoprostol), that she has a way to contact someone who may be able to assist her in reversing the process (through administration of progesterone)—and ensuring that she knows that time is of the essence.
As nurses, we respect the fact that informed consent is a standard of our profession. Health care providers need to ensure that women have all the information they need to make a truly informed decision. Evidence demonstrates that frequently women regret the decision to have an abortion. Timely information on how to reverse any such grave decision is a right of all patients and should not be obstructed. (Rec. 8/20/2015)
Repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)
The National Association of Catholic Nurses-U.S.A. (NACN) is a signatory with over 500 healthcare, patient, employer, veteran groups to a letter to Congress calling for repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). IPAB is responsible for making cuts to Medicare expenditures if program spending reaches a certain level established by statute. However, the IPAB is comprised of executive branch appointees. Their recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, if implemented, are not subject to judicial review. As the letter to Congress put it, “An unelected board without adequate oversight or accountability would be taking actions historically reserved for the public’s elected representatives in the U.S. House and Senate.” Clearly, this is not in the best interest of our Nation’s health, especially the health of vulnerable persons whose only health care coverage is through Medicare. See:
NACN-U.S.A. Continues to Advocate for Religious Freedom
The NACN-U.S.A. again has been a signatory to an amicus brief in support of the right of organizations, especially faith-based organizations, to the free- exercise of religion guaranteed by both the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, as well as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of our federal statutes.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight District is hearing the appeal of Ozark College, a Christian college denied injunctive relief by a lower court and with an order of dismal of their complaint by the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri Southern Division. Ozark College had sought relief from being mandated to violate its religious freedom by the unjust contraceptive mandate imposed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, implementing some provisions of the Affordable Care Act (HHS Mandate). Ozark College is seeking relief from being forced to provide, through the contract with an insurance provider for which the College pays premiums, abortion inducing drugs and devices to their employees. These egregious attacks on religious liberty continue to escalate, and the NACN-U.S.A. continues to advocate against such unjust mandates. To date the NACN-U.S.A has been a signatory to eight such amicus briefs against the unjust HHS Mandate (Rec. 5/15/2015).
Little Sisters Fight for Religious Freedom
Little Sisters of the Poor Ask for Prayers for Their Attorneys, as they Represent the Little Sisters in their Fight for Religious Freedom, Violated by the HHS Contraceptive Mandate.
On December 8th, 2014, the Little Sisters of the Poor will have their day in court before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through its Contraceptive Mandate, is requiring virtually all employers, regardless of their opposition on grounds of conscience, to provide to their employees through their benefit plans coverage of contraceptive drugs and devices, including abortifacients, as well as surgical sterilizations. The Little Sisters present perhaps the best and clearest example of a religious organization that is faced with an existential threat by the HHS Contraceptive Mandate (see: http://blog.archny.org/steppingout/?p=3076. ). A victory by the Little Sisters will send a clear message to the U.S. Supreme Court, and will increase the chances that other religious non-profits will be protected from the ruinous fines that would be imposed under the Mandate. A defeat could subject the Little Sisters to as much as $50 million in fines for following their conscience — that would force them out of their significant ministry to the elderly and infirmed, and also send an ominous message about the future of religious freedom in America. Please continue to hold the Little Sisters and their attorneys in prayer.
The National Association of Catholic Nurses-U.S.A. (NACN) continues to support organizations and their rights to religious freedom, being violated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Contraceptive Mandate. The NACN recently joined other organizations committee to the protection of religious freedom in signing on the following Amicus briefs, in support of those employers who are legally challenging the violations of their conscience rights: Dordt College and Cornerstone University (UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT, DORDT COLLEGE and CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY, v. SYLVIA M. BURWELL); the Archdiocese of St. Louis (UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT, ARCHDIOCESE OF ST. LOUIS and CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF ST. LOUIS. v. SYLVIA M. BURWELL); and East Texas Baptist University and Westminster Theological Seminary (UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT EAST TEXAS BAPTIST UNIVERSITY; HOUSTON BAPTIST UNIVERSITY, WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, v. SYLVIA MATTHEWS BURWELL). These briefs represents a total of six amicus briefs filed by the NACN in support of religious freedom being violated by the HHS Contraceptive Mandate.
Proposal for Redistribution of NACN-USA Regions [Read more]
Members are requested to vote in favor or opposed through the ballot emailed directly to you. Thank you.
Iowa Supreme Court considers Case
NACN-U.S.A. again has been a signatory to an amicus brief in support of sound and life giving health care policies. NACN-U.S.A. supports the state of Iowa and the Ruling of its Board of Medicine to protect women from abortions via telemedicine. Planned Parenthood has challenge these safety requirements and the case is before the Iowa Supreme Court. The NACN-U.S.A. Northeast Regional Chair, Dr. Marie Hilliard, is Director of Bioethics and Public Policy for The National Catholic Bioethics Center, and assists the NACN-U.S.A.’s Ethics and Spirituality Committee in fulfilling such critical roles for the common good. See: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/health/2014/09/16/planned-parenthood-of-the-heartland-iowa-supreme-court-telemedicine-abortion/15726317/.
2015 – Julia Greeley Award
Please join the NACN-USA Board Member in our congratulations to Diana Ruzicka, Chair, Newsletter & Publicity Committee as the recipient of the ENDOW 2015 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. After learning what the Church truly teaches about the dignity and genius of women, three women of the laity began developing these studies under the guidance of Sr. Prudence Allen, RSM, PhD world renowned philosopher in Catholic feminism. Groups begin with Pope St. John Paul II’s 1995 Letter to Women. A beautiful sequel study is his 1988 Apostolic Letter “On the Vocation & Dignity of Women” (Mulieris Dignitatem). All nurses would benefit from the study On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering (Salvifici Doloris). Diana has a great appreciation for the two studies on the work of St. Thomas Aquinas and the CD set by Sr. Prudence Allen on the Anthropology of the Human Person. She wishes that, in addition to the psychology classes she took to prepare her for her nursing career, she’d also studied the Church’s teaching on the Truth of the human person. Diana has facilitated 18 studies within the military community at Redstone Arsenal and has grown immensely in her understanding of Church teaching through these beautiful studies. It is easy to become an ENDOW facilitator. [Read more]
2014 National Nursing Award for Volunteerism
Please join the NACN-USA Board Member in our prayers and thanks to Mimi Nowak for all her valuable health service volunteer activities.
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
The National Association of Catholic Nurses – U.S.A. (NACN) Continues to be an Advocate for Religious Freedom
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services again has amended its rules mandating contraceptive coverage virtually by all employers for their employees. The most recent versions (Interim Final Rule; and Proposed Rule) to be promulgated do nothing to reduce the impact of the original rule. NACN has been an active supporter of the religious freedom of all employers, signing amicus briefs that have impacted decisions even of the U.S. Supreme Court (Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties). We need to continue to have our voices heard, as religious freedom is paramount to nurses as we carry out our ministries. Please see the following announcement by The National Catholic Bioethics Center, and take this opportunity to respond to these new rules, in our continuing attempt to restore religious freedom: http://www.ncbcenter.org/resources/hhs-mandate-regulatory-updates-fail-to-respect-religious-liberty.
NACN-USA Celebrates SCOTUS Decision in Support of Religious Freedom
The National Association of Catholic Nurses-U.S.A. hails the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court in support of the religious freedom of the owners of Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation and Hobby Lobby Stores Incorporated. These family-owned businesses took the courageous stand of challenging the assault on their religious freedom under the guise of preventative health care, and the Contraceptive Mandate it imposed. While reason would tell us that the Constitution of the United States would demand no less of an affirmation of religious freedom by the Justices of the Supreme Court, the lengths to which the assault on religious liberty have escalated by the federal government, as well as by the judicial activism of other courts, gave reason for grave concern. The federal government had argued that for-profit corporations, and even the individuals running them as incorporators, lose their right to religious freedom. Specifically, in its legal arguments, the federal government refused to acknowledge that corporations can have a conscience.
The Contraceptive Mandate of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, requiring virtually all employers to provide contraceptive, abortifacient and surgical sterilization insurance coverage, at no cost to the employees, regardless of the deeply held moral objections of employers, represented a landmark violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The bias against persons of faith should give all members of this great land, founded in the name of freedom, great pause. This bias became even more evident when it is understood that at the same time the federal government is willing to respect the rights of corporations which refuse to sell tobacco, or engage in efforts to promote environmental conservation.
In celebrating this reaffirmation of the United States Constitution, and all that it has been established to protect, The National Association of Catholic Nurses-USA. also wishes to thank the families of the Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation and Hobby Lobby Stores Incorporated for their courage in defending the sacred right of religious freedom at great fiscal peril. The NACN-USA was a party to the amicus brief in support of the rights of these two companies, and thus takes great joy in this decision.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the abortion-inducing drugsregulation in Texas: Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Surgical Health Services, et al., v. Attorney General Gregory Abbott, et al. Americans United for Life’s amicus brief on the case was filed on behalf of a number of professional associations. The Texas Legislature enacted a law which included a provision protecting women from the dangerous and unapproved protocols for the use of abortion-inducing drugs. A lower court struck down this law, mistakenly accepting Planned Parenthood and other’s arguments that there are some women for whom surgical abortions are not an option and who might “need” chemical abortions after 49 days (thus, expanding the use of chemical abortions, and thus, all abortions). The National Association of Catholic Nurses–U.S.A. joined the following associations in attempting to support the State of Texas, as its law to protect women (and at the same-time restrict unsafe chemical abortions) was challenged: the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists, the Christian Medical Association, Catholic Medical Association, The National Catholic Bioethics Center, Alabama Physicians for Life, and the National Association of Pro Life Nurses. While the NACN-U.S.A. is opposed to all forms of abortion, it recognizes the benefit of supporting pro-life efforts to limit abortion through incremental legislation.
NACN-USA Opposes “War on Women”
The National Association of Catholic Nurses – U.S.A. (NACN) joined other professional health care groups in opposing proposed federal legislation that would place all pregnant women and their unborn children at risk. S. 1696: The Women’s Health Protection Act, is just the opposite of what its title reflects. It would invalidate hundreds of federal and state abortion-related laws and permit abortion providers to set the standard of care for their patients with no oversight from state officials and no effective remedies for the abortion industry’s deficiencies and frequent malfeasance. S. 1696 adopts the myth that abortion is “essential to women’s health,” and asserts that laws restricting the practice are “medically unwarranted” and “harm women.” In reality, laws regulating abortion have the dual effect of protecting women and their unborn children. Abortion bans (e.g. gestational limits and sex-selection bans), health and safety standards for abortion facilities, admitting privileges requirements, regulations on abortion-inducing drugs, reflection periods and other informed consent requirements, and ultrasound requirements—all of which would be invalidated under S. 1696—protect women from the dangers inherent to abortion. NACN is proud of its role in working to defeat this legislation which reflected the real “War on Woman.”
The National Association of Catholic Nurses hails the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists for its efforts to foster Hippocratic Medicine, as medicine was meant to be practiced, as a healing art, not an instrument of death. As abortion on demand was enshrined as the law of the land with the US Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade, the escalating efforts, and successes, to legalize physician assisted death continue to violate the sacrosanct role of the physician as healer. Society has endorsed the contamination of the health care professions by calling upon the healer to be the direct agent of death, violating the ancient and respected Hippocratic Oath, no longer made available to medical school students. We hail this effort of the courageous members of the AAPLOG. The National Catholic Bioethics Center has a pro-life version of the Hippocratic Oath available by contacting: Info@ncbcenter.org.
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.” Other guests included Dr. Adrian Kerrigan from the CMMB, Christine Hansen from Americans for Prosperity, Dr. David McKalip from Doctors for Patient Freedom, Natasha Baspo, who hosts a Spanish Language Program and Dr. Robin Pierucci a Neonatologist from Michigan. 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
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.
AMICUS BRIEF – HORNE v. ISAACSON by NACN
The National Association of Catholic Nurses, USA has joined the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Christian Medical & Dental Associations, Catholic Medical Association, Physicians for Life, and National Association of Prolife Nurses in issuing an amicus brief in support of Arizona’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court concerning a law to prevent abortions after 20 weeks gestation. The Arizona Legislature’s enactment of H.B.2036, Section 9 was overturned by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit which refused to recognize the State’s interest in protecting women from significantly higher risk of physical and psychological harm and upholding the integrity of the medical profession to make abortion decisions based on the reliable scientific data. The U.S. Supreme Court has been petitioned to review the case for a judgment in favor of the State of Arizona.