by Steven Ertelt
April 8, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- A leading doctors group is issuing a final request to President Barack Obama to not overturn the protections that help them avoid being pressured to participate in abortions. The public comment period on Obama's proposal to remove the rules ends on Thursday.
The Christian Medical Association, the nation's largest association of faith-based physicians, says Obama's proposal would cut off patient access to healthcare professionals and institutions nationwide, especially imperiling the poor and medically underserved populations.
Dr. David Stevens, the head of the CMA, pointed to a new poll showing 87 percent of Americans say it is important to make sure health care professionals are not forced to participate in abortions.
"Rescinding these regulations is dangerous for patients. They may soon find a sign hanging on the door of their doctor’s office or hospital stating, 'Out of business--wouldn't do abortions,'" he told LifeNews.com.
"Patients have a right to choose a healthcare professional who shares their moral views. No reasonable patient wants a doctor doing a procedure on them with which they are not only uncomfortable but morally opposed to," Stevens added.
The physician continued: "These regulations put teeth into the law and insure patients have the doctors and nurses they need. Removing them sends a clear message, 'It is open season on healthcare professionals of conscience. Discriminate at will.'"
The physicians group is joined by a collection of pro-life organizations also opposed to President Obama's likely move to overturn the conscience clause regulation.
Concerned Women for America president Wendy Wright said the protections the Bush administration put in place are needed.
"Increasingly, health care providers report being discriminated against because of their moral beliefs, despite federal laws and civil rights regulations to protect the freedom of conscience," she said.
"Forcing doctors, nurses, pharmacists or others in the health care field to violate their conscience will ultimately jeopardize patients. It would force ethical people out of the profession entirely to accommodate the temporary demands of a few," she added.
Wright agreed with Stevens that Obama's move would be bad for health care and bad for lower income patients.
"If health care providers are forced to perform objectionable procedures it will push qualified, ethical people out of the profession completely, exacerbating the crisis of fewer health care workers in an already diminishing field. This will hurt the poor the most, since many health providers in underserved populations are faith-based," she said. "It will reduce access to health care for everyone."
Marjorie Dannenfelser, the head of the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life women's group, also participated in a press conference today with Wright, Stevens and others opposed to the potential Obama move.
She told LifeNews.com Obama would be going against his mantra of finding common ground on the abortion debate.
"True common ground means respecting the rights of conscience for everyone, not bulldozing over their freedoms in order to please the abortion industry," she said.
Over 10,000 Susan B. Anthony List activists have sent comments in support of healthcare providers’ right of conscience to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Another 35,000 Americans have used the Freedom2Care.org web site to speak out as well and countless thousands of pro-life advocates have responded after learning of Obama's potential move on LifeNews.com.
ACTION: Here are some things you can to tell President Obama to not remove the protections for doctors and hospitals:
You can express your opposition to the Obama proposal by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submitting comments is April 9.
Comments may be submitted electronically on the Web site www.Regulations.gov (by entering 0991-AB49 in the search box).
Several pro-life groups have also banded together to offer freedom2care.org, a web site with tools to make it easy for pro-life people to respond to Obama's likely decision to rescind the medical protections. http://www.freedom2care.org