Sometimes a battle can be very public and easy to grasp and other times it can be fought behind closed doors in institutions and seem unduly complex for an ordinary person to grasp. This may seem the case for conscience rights for health care workers.
In a publicly funded health care system such as ours here in Canada, we must deal with evils such as abortion, contraception, sterilizations, gender re-assignment surgery and mercy-killing being done in our hospitals and clinics. These evils are wrapped into institutions that do good as well, obviously.
But institutions are composed of people some of whom agree with all the actions taking place and many who cannot agree in conscience with theses evils. In Canada we have a very bumpy history of recognizing the rights of conscience. Many nurses have been pressured to assist at abortions or be involved somewhere in the abortion process. Pharmacists have been compelled to prescribe abortifacients or lethal doses of medicine for mercy-killing or contraceptives. Medical and nursing students have been harassed and seen their professional futures blocked. Catholic nursing homes and hospitals have been bullied in the press and by governments such as Quebec to allow for the mercy-killing of patients.
Legally, a battle is going on right now for the recognition of the rights of medical personnel to refuse to be involved in mercy-killing either directly or indirectly or by referral. It is wending its way though the courts and we have suffered initial setbacks, but a wide coalition is planning to appeal, if necessary, all the way to the Supreme Court. Please pray for this and if you have health care personnel in your parish (as I am sure that you do) support and pray for them.