AMA Conscience clause

Chicago-The American Medical Association is attempting to tread a middle ground between abortion supporters and those advocating conscience clause legislation for health care workers. At its annual meeting June 16 in Chicago, the AMA adopted a resolution calling on U.S. hospitals to provide sterilization and contraception services, while protecting workers whose religious views are opposed to such practices. The amendment comes as the result of the consolidation of many hospital services that would see the merging of a number of public and Catholic-run institutions. The situation is similar to that in many Canadian cities. Some Catholic leaders in the U.S. have suggested the AMA compromise, is a religious victory. Nonetheless there are still some concerns about how the religious rights of Catholic and Christian health care workers will be protected. The AMA has vowed to continue working for full access to reproductive health care services in spite of the Catholic affiliation of many hospitals throughout the country.

FDA holds up RU-486

Washington-The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has slowed the rapid introduction of the RU-486 abortion pill (mifepristone) in the U.S. Media reports in June suggest the FDA is considering a plan to restrict prescription privileges of the drug to doctors who commit abortions. Abortion supporters have long lobbied for FDA approval of RU-486 on grounds that it will allow women to obtain abortions without having to go to clinics. Preventing abortionists from dispensing the drug would slow RU-486’s wide availability in the country. There is some speculation that the FDA may require doctors to undergo additional training on the side effects of the drug, before it gives final approval. Abortion backers meanwhile, are champing at the bit in an attempt to prod the FDA into a quick approval of the drug.

Gay Scout leaders nixed

Washington-In a rare decision against the gay rights onslaught, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in late June that the Boy Scouts of America can discriminate against homosexuals becoming Scout leaders. Chief Justice William Renquist said that homosexuality is inconsistent with the Boy Scouts’ long-standing principles. He said forcing the organization to accept gay Scout leaders would severely undermine its values. The Supreme Court ruling was 5-4 in favour of discrimination. A minority view held that the Boy Scouts should welcome diversity all allowing gay leaders. Scouts Canada recently gave its blessing to the first gay and lesbian troop.

Dobson warns Republicans

Colorado Spring, CO-The head of the Focus on the Family organization has warned Republicans to hold fast to a pro-life platform as a key to winning the next election. Dr. James Dobson has written to the Republican National Committee urging that frontrunner George W. Bush not select a pro-abortion vice presidential candidate. Dr. Dobson said a pro-abortion VP on the Republican ticket would guarantee a Democratic victory in this year’s showdown. The result would mean four more years of Democratic rule, this time under abortion apologist Al Gore. The Focus on the Family leader suggested that pro-life voters will refrain from casting ballots if Bush picks a running mate who favours abortion. Dobson said even a five per cent voter swing on the issue could make or break a new president-elect.