Washington D.C., Apr 3, 2009 / 19:13 pm America/Denver (CNA).
Yesterday, a majority of Catholic Senators rejected a conscience protection law proposed by Senator Tom Colburn that would protect health care workers who object to abortions from participating in the procedure.
Conscience protection has become a topic of debate after President Obama announced that he was reviewing the law and could possible eliminate it. Colburn’s amendment states, "To protect the freedom of conscience for patients and the right of health care providers to serve patients without violating their moral and religious convictions."
The amendment was voted down by a margin of 41-56, in which a majority of Catholic Senators voted against the amendment 9-16. The failure to pass this legislation now leaves the door open for the Obama Administration to rescind the law by executive order and force health workers to compromise their moral convictions.
Last month, Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), expressed deep concern that removing the conscience rule would be "the first step in moving our country from democracy to despotism."
"No government should come between an individual person and God—that's what America is supposed to be about," he commented. "This is the true common ground for us as Americans."