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RI Right to Life Condemns Lawsuit by State AG Patrick Lynch
Thursday, January 15th, 2009
For immediate release:
January 16, 2009
For more information:
Barth E. Bracy, Executive Director
Tel. 521-1860 (office) / Email: email@example.com
Providence, RI––The Rhode Island State Right to Life Committee condemns the decision of State Attorney General Patrick Lynch to join a lawsuit filed yesterday, January 15, 2009, in Hartford by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. against the federal government over new rules guaranteeing protection for doctors and other health-care workers who refuse to participate in abortions.
On December 18, 2008, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published regulations (1) designed to ensure that recipients of federal funds comply with long-standing federal conscience protection laws. The rules, first proposed publicly on July 14, 2008, were promulgated after a protracted administrative process including extensive opportunity for public review and comment. They will go into effect on January 20, 2009. (2)
While abortion advocates claim the policy “would trump state laws protecting women’s access to birth control, reproductive health services and emergency contraception,” (3) the regulations simply provide an enforcement mechanism for more than a dozen existing federal laws prohibiting discrimination against healthcare providers who decline to participate in or provide abortions, both surgical and chemical (e.g. those induced using RU-486). (4)
The issue, according to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, “is not abortion or contraceptives, but the legal right medical practitioners have to practice according to their conscience” and that “patients should be able to choose a doctor who has beliefs like his or hers.” (5) Adds Deirdre A. McQuade, U.S. Catholic bishops’ spokesperson on abortion, “Respect for conscience rights on abortion should be a strong point of agreement among those considering themselves ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice.’” (6) Noteworthy is that the laws of 47 states, including Rhode Island, (7) provide similar protections for healthcare providers.
The Rhode Island State Right to Life Committee believes Attorney General Patrick Lynch is out of step with the many Rhode Islanders who support rights of conscience. We call upon the Attorney General to explain to the people of Rhode Island the basis for his participation in this lawsuit and how this action serves the interests of our State.
About Rhode Island Right to Life: RIRTL was founded in 1970 with the mission to advocate for a state, nation and world in which the innocent lives of the unborn, the disabled, the elderly and the ill are cherished by the citizenry and protected by civil law. RIRTL lobbies for legislation that advances the cause of the sanctity of human life in the state and federally.
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