Catholic M.D.'s Worry After H.H.S. Mandate

Some Catholics who want to practice medicine in conformity with the church’s teachings worry that a new federal regulation requiring health plans to cover contraceptives and sterilization represents a governmental intrusion into health care that could grow. Anne Nolte, M.D., right, a family physician in New York, said, “If Congress failed to pass an act that provides an exemption for the groups affected by this, and the courts in some incomprehensible way allow [the mandate] to stand, then Catholic health care will have to make a decision to practice civil disobedience.” A fourth-year medical student at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Sarah Smith made clear during residency interviews that her Catholic convictions prevent her from involvement in abortion, sterilization or contraception. Now she worries that an atmosphere in which she already finds some challenges to her pro-life convictions will further sour. “The one safe environment—Catholic hospitals—is not even going to be safe anymore,” she said. Dr. Kim Hardey, of Lafayette, La., believes that some in Washington would like to drive obstetrician-gynecologists like him, who will not perform abortions, out of business. “There are not that many of us...that we’d be too big to go after,” he said.

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