Pro-Life Health Workers Fight for Conscience Protections
The Washington Times
April 09, 2009
President Obama’s campaign promise to dismantle new conscience protections for health care professionals could let governments and medical institutions threaten the careers of pro-lifers who refuse involvement with abortion and contraception issues, a pro-life medical coalition said yesterday.
About 40 doctors, medical students, nurses and lab technicians, all dressed in white lab coats, lined up at the National Press Club on Wednesday to dramatize their opposition to rescinding the extra protections put into place last December by President Bush.
“In some states, pharmacists must dispense certain medications or lose their licenses,” said Dr. David Stevens, CEO of the 15,000-member Christian Medical and Dental Associations, which is a pro-life organization. “Students are denied admission to medical schools or residency programs because they are not in favor of abortion. Doctors and nurses are losing their job or a promotion because of their beliefs.”
Dr. Stevens added that 23 percent of association members report job discrimination because of their beliefs and that “many” are not entering the obstetrics field for fear they will be forced to perform abortions.
In a worst-case scenario drawn by Dr. Stevens, pro-lifers and churches abandoning the medical field entirely, up to one-third of the nation’s hospitals could close and “hundreds of thousands” of people could leave their jobs.
His figure of one-third of America’s hospitals includes the nation’s 615 Roman Catholic hospitals (about one-sixth of the national figure) plus a variety of medical centers operated by conservative Protestant groups. Some Catholic bishops have hinted at closing their hospitals rather than comply with government mandates on abortion and contraception they deem morally unacceptable.
He also figured in hospitals having to close from resulting staff shortages if pro-lifers refuse to enter the medical profession.
The National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association backs rescinding the Bush rule, saying it also gives immunity to health care workers who refuse to supply contraception because of their religious beliefs.