Finally, there is something reasonable pro-choice and pro-life folks should be able to agree upon. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle took a break from the tax reform debate to focus on conscience protections for healthcare workers. Nurses from different parts of the country were on Capitol Hill this week to tell their heart-rending experiences of being forced to help with abortion procedures, or in some cases of being fired for declining.

In an emotional press conference, nurse Cathy DeCarlo of Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York recounted how she was threatened with loss of her nursing license unless she assisted in a dismemberment abortion of a baby at 22-weeks development. She still has nightmares about what she saw and was compelled to do. Sandra Mendoza of Illinois told of being fired after 18 years of excellent performance on the job for declining to participate in an abortion. Fe Vinoya was one of 12 nurses from a hospital in Newark, N.J., who told a similar story.

Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., and Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., have sponsored the Conscience Protection Act to provide protection to those who have been discriminated against in this fashion, and its text has been included in the fiscal year 2018 appropriations bill. No doubt the most strident voices in Congress who are cozy with the abortion lobby will try to exclude this provision from the end-of-the-year spending bill, but if there is any meaning to the “choice” in the pro-choice slogan, they should stand down.

Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1809 that, “No provision in our constitution ought to be dearer to man, than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority.” Our country has a long history of respecting the rights of conscious objectors, and if there is a scintilla of authenticity to slogans of tolerance and diversity, surely we can agree that people should not be forced to take the life of a developing fellow human being.

Maureen Ferguson is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. She is a senior policy adviser for The Catholic Association.

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