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Statement: Christian Medical Association

Washington, DC–February 27, 2009-David Stevens, CEO of the Christian Medical Association, today issued the following statement responding to today’s news, reported in the Los Angeles Times, that the Obama administration is moving to rescind a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regulation protecting civil rights and the exercise of conscience in healthcare:

“The move to rescind the healthcare provider conscience regulation imperils women’s healthcare access, threatens healthcare professionals’ freedom to practice medicine according to ethical standards, and exposes the myth of moderation in Obama’s abortion policy.

“The Obama administration claims, without offering a shred of statistical evidence, that the regulation has ‘created confusion’ and will somehow hinder access to healthcare. What can be clearer than not using federal funds to force healthcare professionals to violate longstanding principles of medical ethics like the Hippocratic Oath, which guided medicine for over two millennia? The real threat to healthcare access is driving out every healthcare professional who conscientiously practices medicine according to life-affirming ethical standards.

“Thousands of conscientious and compassionate physicians, nurses, hospitals and clinics currently serve poor women and those who live in medically underserved areas. Many of these professionals and institutions are motivated and guided by longstanding Hippocratic ethics and biblical principles that preclude participation in abortion and other controversial procedures. Infringing on their right to practice medicine according to these life-affirming ethical standards will force them to leave the profession and to shut down the hospitals and clinics.

“An informal survey of our members showed that over 40 percent report being pressured to violate ethical standards. Physicians report losing positions and promotions because of their life-affirming views. Residents report losing training privileges because they refused to do abortions. Medical students report changing career tracks away from obstetrics for fear of pressure to do abortions. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has officially asserted that it expects every obstetrician to participate in abortions, either through procedure or referral.

“We hear a lot of rhetoric from abortion advocates about the government not interfering with the physician-patient relationship. Why is this argument no longer employed when the physician and the patient disagree with abortion on demand? It would appear that for all the abortion “choice” rhetoric, “choice” is really a one-way street. When it comes to pro-life individuals, abortion choice quickly turns into abortion mandate.

“President Obama and other abortion advocates would like to maintain the myth of their moderation on abortion, talking much about ‘reducing the need for abortion.’ Yet they have no tolerance for moderate abortion policies like informing parents when their children seek an abortion, banning the essentially infanticidal partial-birth abortions, or protecting the civil rights of healthcare professionals who follow the Hippocratic Oath.

“This latest move against pro-life principles in healthcare comes on the heels of Obama’s recent lifting of the Mexico City policy, which now lets taxpayer funds prop up abortion groups, and his declaration that he will fund the UNFPA-the United Nations population program found by the U.S. State Department to aid and abet China’s coercive abortion policy. These policy moves indicate with increasing clarity what a radically pro-abortion agenda this administration intends to impose.”


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