… ought to be the name of a Heavy Metal band.

But it’s actually how a spokesman for Colorado Right to Life described the ACLU, for its support of the right of a physician at a Catholic hospital to give medical advice dictated by medical research rather than by a bishop. Full quote: “It’s not surprising that the Anti-Christ Legions of the Underworld would use the police-state force of government to compel an institution to aid and abet the dismemberment of unborn children.” Note that the “police-state” tactic under discussion is defending a professional practicing his profession according to his own conscience against outside pressure.

Query to supporters of “conscience clauses” allowing individuals and institutions to opt out of providing medical services or products of which they conscientously disapprove: Do you believe that Dr. Demos is entitled to the conscientous practice of medicine? If not, what is the meaning of “conscience clause,” execept that everyone should have to conform his conscience to yours?

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

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Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the New York University Marron Institute.