The 19,000-member Christian Medical Association, the largest national association of faith-based doctors, lauded a conscience law-enforcing rule finalized today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as a protection for both patients and doctors.
More information available at www.Freedom2Care.org:
· Stories of conscience violations
· Previous polling by Kellyanne Conway on conscience (e.g, 92 percent of faith-based physicians said they would leave medicine rather than compromise conscience)
· CMA comments submitted to HHS on conscience rule
Real-life examples of discrimination in healthcare
The following real-life examples demonstrate the often subtle, sometimes flagrant and increasingly pervasive discrimination faced by pro-life, faith-based and conscience-driven individuals in the healthcare professions.
National polling conducted by Kellyanne Conway's The Polling Company, Inc. indicates that over nine in ten faith-based health professionals are prepared to leave medicine altogether if forced to choose between conscience and career. A forced exit of faith-based professionals and institutions would hurt most the many poor and marginalized patients served through faith-based healthcare.
A coerced exodus of faith-based professionals and institutions would also severely diminish patient choice. The polling found that 88% of American adults surveyed said it is either "very" or "somewhat" important to them that they share a similar set of morals as their doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers. The polling also found that 87% of American adults surveyed believed it is important to "make sure that healthcare professionals in America are not forced to participate in procedures and practices to which they have moral objections."
These examples illustrate the need for regulation, legislation and education regarding conscience protections in healthcare—which serve to protect both the patient and the professional. Some cases also point to a critical need to counter a partisan ideology festering within the medical community. That ideology is fomenting a climate of intolerance for pro-life and faith-based positions and is triggering new mandates for performing or referring for abortions and other ethically controversial procedures and prescriptions.
Anecdotal accounts suggest that few persecuted healthcare professionals actually know their conscience rights and that they typically simply submit to pressure by resigning. Students who experience discrimination and pressure to violate conscience simply give in and attempt to find a more tolerant institution or a less controversial field of medicine than obstetrics and gynecology. Unless pro-life professionals are equipped to know and apply their conscience rights, they actually stand at risk of being weeded out from the profession altogether.
The sampling of real-life cases that follows illustrates an urgent need to strengthen statutory and regulatory protections for conscience rights in healthcare and conduct an awareness campaign to educate healthcare professionals of their conscience rights. An awareness campaign would also help counter the growing mindset in medicine that abortion and other controversial procedures are sovereign patient rights that trump all other considerations, thus binding healthcare professionals to oblige such demands regardless of the professional's oaths, ethics and faithbased convictions.
Disclaimer: Following are excerpted examples of communications from healthcare professionals regarding conscience rights in healthcare. These communications represent the personal views of the individuals. Affiliations are listed for informational purposes only and do not imply an institutional endorsement of the views expressed.