The following comes from a November 2 Catholic News Agency article:

Faithful Catholics need to be aware of the ever-increasing serious threats to Christians living their faith in the field of medicine, warned Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles.

Noting the annual White Mass for health care professionals in the archdiocese, which was held at the cathedral Oct. 23, the archbishop reflected in his weekly column on the history of Christians in medicine.

From the very beginning, Archbishop Gomez said, Christian doctors served all patients that came to them, including those of different religions, social statuses and people with highly contagious diseases.

“Something else distinguished early Christian doctors,” the archbishop continued, “from the beginning they refused to take part in abortion, infanticide, birth control, assisted suicide or castration, all of which they considered bad medical practice and contrary to the truths of the Gospel.”

But while these basic commitments by Catholic doctors and nurses remain, the surrounding world of health care has greatly changed, he said.

He pointed to the medical journal Practical Ethics, which recently published a statement by prominent bioethicists making the argument that doctors should have no ability to make a medical judgment call against performing any legally permitted procedure.

Any doctor who declines to perform a requested procedure, the bioethicists said, should face a tribunal and be made “to compensate society and the health system for their failure to fulfill their professional obligations.”

“Writing in the influential international journal, Bioethics, another group of leading bioethicists titled their article: ‘Doctors have no right to refuse medical assistance in dying, abortion or contraception’,” the archbishop said.

Other areas of coercion in medicine nationwide include efforts to remove longstanding conscience protections and force doctors and nurses to perform abortions, sterilizations, and sex reassignment surgeries, he added.

Responding to these ongoing concerns, Archbishop Gomez highlighted efforts in the archdiocese to promote a culture of life and freedom of conscience.