- - Monday, November 13, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Abortion is the issue that will divide America forever because it’s fundamentally an issue of conscience vs. convenience, with no victory for either side in prospect. A conscience is difficult to silence and everybody likes convenience. There’s no better snapshot of the chasm between red America and blue America.

Last week, two pieces of legislation were introduced in Washington, the Conscience Protection Act in Congress, and the Abortion Provider Non-Discrimination Amendment Act in the District of Columbia Council.

Eight members of Congress, including one Democrat, joined in the introduction of legislation to shield doctors and nurses from being compelled to assist in abortions, at the risk of losing their jobs, if they refuse to participate.

A day earlier, D.C. Councilman David Grosso had introduced the municipal legislation that would prevent hospitals in Washington denying staff privileges to doctors and nurses who perform or assist in abortions, and would enable them to speak publicly without fear of consequences about their support for abortion. “Doctors and nurses are vital patient advocates,” Mr. Grosso said. “They should not fear employer discrimination for speaking up in the interest of patients who decided to have abortions.”

A few blocks up Pennsylvania Avenue, three nurses described their experience with a wounded conscience in an operating theater. Cathy DeCarlo, who emigrated from the Philippines to pursue a nursing career in America, worked for five years as surgical nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York before, in 2009, she was assigned to assist in an abortion, and declined as a matter of conscience. Faced with punishment for insubordination if she refused, Miss DeCarlo submitted.

“I’ll never forget that day as I watched in horror as the doctor dismembered and removed the baby’s bloody limbs. I had to account for all the pieces,” she said, suppressing sobs. “I still have nightmares about that day.” Two other nurses offered similar stories. “I became a nurse to help people,” one said, “not to do harm.”

The Conscience Protection Act was incorporated into a consolidated end-of-the-year spending bill approved by the House in September. If the Senate approves, President Trump says he will sign it into law.

Mr. Grosso’s legislation makes no exemption for doctors and nurses at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital/Georgetown University Medical Center, affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, which instructs the conscience of a Christian that taking a life is wrong, inconvenient or not, to those seeking or assisting in an abortion.

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