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Conscience Rights or Conscience Wrongs?: Debating conscientious objection in healthcare; YouTube

By Dr. Jeff Mirus, Catholic Culture, Dec 17, 2021

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org. …

I agree with Phil Lawler’s latest post, Lay Catholics suffer from Church leaders’ silence on conscience rights. In fact, I recommend reading it. But I have never been comfortable with the expression “conscience rights”, a term which most people misconstrue. After all, conscience rights are not baldly absolute in every context: They must be carefully understood.

In United States legal history, “conscience rights” have been invoked primarily as a convenient way out of the dilemma of enforcing laws which a minority of people regard as immoral—that is, these persons have a conscientious objection to something that the law requires of them. Conscience rights, in this sense, work out in the body politic simply by making some provision for a minority position when the State concludes that it would be either imprudent or immoral to force the issue. …

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