SCOTUS’s Good News for Medical Conscience

by Wesley J. Smith

The State of Missouri cannot discriminate against a church school’s request for a generally available grant based on religion, the SCOTUS has ruled.

Having very quickly read the ruling — I won’t get into most of its intricacies — the Court’s ruling seems to be very good news for situations involving religious liberty that extend well beyond the rather mundane facts of the case at bench about which I am concerned — such as medical conscience.

Specifically, the following positive assertion offers great hope.  From Trinity Lutheran Church v Comer (my emphasis):

Neither do I see why the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause should care. After all, that Clause guarantees the free exercise of religion, not just the right to inward belief (or status)…And this Court has long explained that government may not “devise mechanisms, overt or disguised, designed to persecute or oppress a religion or its practices.”

Yes! So much for the “freedom of worship” shriveling of the First Amendment so often posited by Barack Obama and the political Left.

And this statement is an even more directly relevant to medical conscience:

The Free Exercise Clause protects against “indirect coercion or penalties on the free exercise of religion, not just outright prohibitions.”

Thus, the ruling should give great pause to those who would seek to pass laws, promulgate regulations, or publish medical association ethics rulings that punish medical professionals who refuse to abort, assist suicide, and/or participate in other controversial actions in the medical context that violate their religious beliefs.

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