July 15, 2008
For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C.–July 15, 2008– Responding to a story published this morning by the New York Times , physicians of the Christian Medical Association called on Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael O. Leavitt to publish regulations in accord with federal laws protecting patients and healthcare professionals in decisions relating to controversial procedures and prescriptions. The New York Times indicated that the Department has drafted regulations “to ensure that federal money does not ‘support morally coercive or discriminatory practices or policies in violation of federal law.'”
“It’s high time that the will of the people, as expressed over the past 35 years through laws passed by Congress, finally be translated into practical healthcare regulations,” noted Dr. David Stevens, CEO of the 13,000-member faith-based professional organization of doctors, in a letter today to the Secretary. “Americans on all sides of controversial issues such as abortion, reproductive technologies and assisted suicide can appreciate the need to protect everyone’s First Amendment rights of free speech and religious exercise. That means that healthcare professionals must be free to follow their individual conscientious convictions on these life-and-death matters. The CMA letter also noted, “An informal survey of Christian Medical Association members found that over 41 percent of respondents had been “pressured to compromise Biblical or ethical convictions.”
Anecdotal accounts suggest that few persecuted healthcare professionals actually know their conscience rights and that they typically simply submit to pressure by resigning. 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 .
Dr. Gene Rudd, Executive Vice President of the CMA, noted, “From the 1973 Church Amendment to the more recent Hyde-Weldon Amendment, Congress has recognized the importance of protecting patients and their healthcare professionals from political pressures on these vital issues.”Patients are protected when physicians follow objective ethical codes, such as those expressed in the Hippocratic Oath and the Judeo-Christian Scriptures. We recognize that some individuals choose to refuse to follow these principles, and under current law, that is their choice. “The regulations reportedly under consideration at Health and Human Services apparently would simply protect the right for all healthcare professionals to make professional judgments based on moral convictions and ethical standards. Protecting this right also protects patients who choose their physicians based on life-affirming values.”
Contact: Becky Gerber Telephone: 888-231-2637 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org The Christian Medical Association is equipped with Ku Band Digital Uplink satellite and ISDN lines.