Expanding the Availability of Controversial Medical Procedures Need Not Interfere with the Religious Freedom of Doctors and Nurses

A set of regulations by the Department of Health and Human Services, intended to go into effect tomorrow, would have expanded the right of medical professionals to refuse, as a matter of conscience, to perform certain procedures or provide certain drugs. But, earlier this month, a federal court struck down the rules, which would apply, for instance, to a doctor who doesn’t wish to perform euthanasia in a state where it is legal to do so or to a nurse who doesn’t wish to administer a vaccine manufactured from fetal tissue. Without objecting to the largely technical grounds on which the court invalidated the regulations, Moishe Bane and Nathan Diament argue in favor of such protections:

American law, both legislative and judicial, has a magnificent tradition of accommodating the rights and needs of individuals with conflicting interests. Surely, such mutual accommodations should be the aspiration of regulations regarding health and medical care. Sadly, in certain contexts—such as regarding women’s reproductive rights and euthanasia—achieving a balanced approach to competing rights is not the goal of some judges and legislators who instead seek to diminish, and [even] to dismiss, the rights of those Americans committed to abide by their religious tenets.

Even in controversial contexts, legislators have successfully found a middle ground to provide rights to services for some individuals while simultaneously ensuring protections for those unable to provide those services on religious grounds. . . . Unfortunately, [however], respect for the conscience rights of healthcare providers (and other Americans of faith) has been persistently attacked.

The denigration and dismissal of religious belief is frequently advanced in association with both abortion and LGBT rights. Rather than seeking to ensure that these legal rights are balanced with the competing, authentic religious rights of others, many abortion and LGBT advocates frame values borne of religion as illegitimate and undeserving of respect, let alone entitled to legal protection. They assert that any accommodation of religious belief is tantamount to using religion as “a sword” to harm others. Experience has now shown that the preservation of religious-conscience protections need not impose significant burdens on others.

Our courts and our culture must be reminded that America was founded by those who were seeking religious freedom; that is why they enshrined its protection in the First Amendment. A devout Jewish doctor who declines to issue an assisted-suicide prescription shouldn’t be forced to choose between her career and conscience any more than a faithful Catholic attorney who doesn’t want to work on a death-penalty case, or a committed feminist web designer who doesn’t want to build a pornographic website.

Read more at Washington Times

More about: Abortion, American law, Euthanasia, Freedom of Religion, Medicine


What Is the Biden Administration Thinking?

In the aftermath of the rescue of four Israeli hostages on Friday, John Podhoretz observes some “clarifying moments.” The third strikes me as the most important:

Clarifying Moment #3 came with the news that the Biden administration is still calling for negotiations leading to a ceasefire after, by my count, the seventh rejection of the same by Hamas since Bibi Netanyahu’s secret offer a couple of weeks ago. Secretary of State Blinken, a man who cannot say no, including when someone suggests it would be smart for him to play high-school guitar while Ukraine burns, will be back in the region for the eighth time to urge Hamas to accept the deal. Why is this clarifying? Because it now suggests, here and for all time, that the Biden team is stupid.

Supposedly the carrot the [White House] is dangling in the region is a tripartite security deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Which would, of course, be a good thing. But like the stupid people they are now proving to be, they seem not to understand the very thing that led the Saudis to view Israel as a potential ally more than a decade ago: the idea that Israel means business and does what it must to survive and built itself a tech sector the Saudis want to learn from. Allowing Hamas to survive, which is implicitly part of the big American deal, will not lead to normalization. The Saudis do not want an Iranian vassal state in Palestine. Their entire foreign-policy purpose is to counter Iran. I know that. You know that. Everybody in the world knows that. Even Tony Blinken’s guitar is gently weeping at his dangling a carrot to Israel and Saudi Arabia that neither wants, needs, nor will accept.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Antony Blinken, Gaza War 2023, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship