Health care decisions, including decisions about abortion, contraception, sterilization, and other forms of reproductive health care, are often guided by ethical and moral values. Since 1973, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) has worked to protect these decisions of conscience and the values and religious beliefs upon which they are made. As well, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice has worked to ensure that accurate, unbiased medical information and access to services are available without religious restrictions or bias.
However, data indicates that individuals and institutions serving the public are increasingly refusing to provide certain health services, claiming that they have religious or moral objections to them and that these objections override the needs and wishes of patients. The trend is clearest in reproductive health services including abortion, contraception, and sterilization and in end-of-life care. As a result, certain services are becoming difficult to access and patients are being denied services without any medical reason.
It is not difficult to see that the availability of reproductive services will be further limited unless an effective moral response is mounted. With this goal in mind, RCRC assembled an interfaith working group of experts, broadly based ethnically, geographically, and professionally, to develop an interfaith set of moral guidelines for the provision of health care in a pluralistic society. The group, has formulated and unanimously adopted a comprehensive set of guidelines, entitled In Good Conscience. Presented to the Board of Directors of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, In Good Conscience was unanimously approved and adopted in February 2007. We hope that In Good Conscience will be a unifying vision from which we can all advocate for quality health care that respects the individual and that individual providers, denominations and healthcare institutions will use In Good Conscience to guide them in respectfully and conscientiously providing health care to all.