Christian Medical Association Responds to Its Federal Court Victory Upholding Medical Judgment and Conscience Freedom

News Release

Christian Medical Association

WASHINGTON, Oct. 15, 2019 /Standard Newswire/ — The Christian Medical Association, the nation’s largest faith-based professional medical organization, responded today to their victory in federal court for the conscience rights of medical professionals. The case, Franciscan Alliance v. Azar, sought relief from a 2016 federal regulation that threatened to drive religious doctors out of practice if they would not perform gender-transition procedures that violate their medical judgment and beliefs. Today’s ruling struck down the rule.

CMA CEO Dr. Michael Chupp noted, “Today’s victory in our federal court case in Texas against government coercion means doctors can continue to exercise medical judgment and ethical care based upon sound medical evidence and Hippocratic standards of patient care instead of any ideology. As our national polling has proven, doctors of faith endeavor to care for all patients regardless of whether or not we agree with their choices or values. But we need the freedom to exercise medical judgment and conscience convictions in order to practice medicine ethically and to provide the best and safest care to our patients.”

CMA Vice President for Government Relations and Director of Freedom2Care Jonathan Imbody added, “We are thankful for Becket’s excellent representation of our membership and their cogent presentation to the court of the legal grounds for this decision, which included the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. That law provides essential protections against the current drive to replace religious freedom with ideological coercion, and we must resist all attempts to nullify the law and its protections consistent with our First Amendment.”

Becket is also currently fighting for the conscience rights of religious doctors on behalf of Dr. Regina Frost and the Christian Medical Association, in another case, New York v. HHS.

Freedom2Care conscience polling: www.freedom2care.org/polling

CONTACT: Margie Shealy, 888-230-2637, 423-341-4254 cell, margie.shealy@cmda.org

Christian Medical & Dental Associations reveal national survey findings on healthcare and conscience

News Release

Christian Medical & Dental Associations

Washington, D.C., September 18, 2019 — The Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA ), the nation’s largest faith-based association of health professionals, today released findings of a national survey showing that conscience-protecting laws and regulations help protect patient access to health care while addressing rampant discrimination against faith-based health professionals.

The survey, a nationwide poll of faith-based health professionals, conducted by Heart and Mind Strategies, LLC, found that 91 percent said they would have to “stop practicing medicine altogether than be forced to violate my conscience.” That finding holds significant implications for millions of patients, especially the poor and those in underserved regions who depend upon faith-based health facilities and professionals for their care.

The survey of faith-based health professionals also found that virtually all care for patients “regardless of sexual orientation, gender identification, or family makeup, with sensitivity and compassion, even when I cannot validate their choices.” The finding puts the lie to the charge that somehow conscience protections will result in whole classes of patients being denied care.

“Faith-based health professionals actually seek out and serve marginalized patients to provide compassionate care, ” explained CM D A CEO Emeritus Dr. David Stevens. “All we ask as we serve is that the government not intrude into the physician-patient relationship by dictating that we must do controversial procedures and prescriptions that counter our best medical judgment or religious beliefs .”

CM DA is currently represented by the Becket law firm in two related cases: Franciscan Alliance v. Azar , which addresses an Affordable Care Act transgender mandate, and New York v. HHS, which addresses a new federal conscience protection rule.

Detail on the poll of faith-based professionals can be found at CMDA-Poll and Freedom2Care.org

Gender Surgery? Abortion? Doctors & Nurses Say ‘They’ll Quit’ if Forced to Violate Their Beliefs

CBN News

Paul Strand

WASHINGTON – A trend in recent years is forcing medical professionals to participate in procedures they are opposed to for moral reasons. The most well-known of these procedures is abortion.  Another one on the rise involves gender reassignment.

Conscience protections are supposed to prevent doctors and nurses from being forced to take part in such procedures.   

“Right of conscience is the freedom to practice health care in accordance with your deeply-held religious, moral or ethical convictions,” explained Dr. David Stevens, CEO emeritus of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA). . . [Full text]

Coalition Offended and Displeased with Recent Comments Attacking Conscience Rights

News Release

Christian Medical Association

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2019 /Standard Newswire/ — Today, a coalition of medical organizations released a public statement condemning recent statements on abortion and conscience protections made by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Osteopathic Association. The letter calls on this “Group of Six” to respect their position and represent all physician members in their public statements.

The coalition asserts in their statement to not use the “sanctity of the patient-physician relationship” as an excuse to passively ignore or actively reject the sanctity of human life, from conception to natural death. Furthermore, they encouraged their primary care colleagues to recognize the inherent right to life of all human persons, regardless of age, stage of development, physical or mental ability, physical location, state of dependency or the subjective designation of “being desired.” The coalition is calling for better and more equitable healthcare for all vulnerable populations, including improved access to maternal and fetal healthcare, and improvement on social determinants of health.

The coalition is made up of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Pediatricians, Catholic Medical Association, Christian Medical Association, Coptic Medical Association, National Association of Catholic Nurses and The National Catholic Bioethics Center.

Executive Director of American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) Donna Harrison, MD, said, “The Hippocratic Oath forbids both abortion and euthanasia. Neither the Group of Six nor any other group can force a physician to violate the Hippocratic Oath on which the doctor patient covenant is founded.”

Executive Director of American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) Michelle Cretella, MD, said “Americans need to realize that the Group of Six do not represent physicians who take an oath to first do no harm in the tradition of Hippocrates. The Hippocratic Oath logically forbids the intentional killing of human life from conception to natural death. Death is not a state of health; killing is not caring. Abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia are not health care.”

Chief Executive Officer of Christian Medical Association (CMA) David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics), said, “Physicians are leaving these medical professional organizations because they no longer represent their worldview. The coalition’s letter will only encourage efforts to force life-honoring professionals out of healthcare to the detriment of our healthcare system and, more importantly, our patients. Pro-life patients want a pro-life physician.”

Senior Fellow of The National Catholic Bioethics Center Marie Hilliard said, “It is important to always recognize when considering the perinatal provider-patient relationship that there are two patients whose best interest we are charged in enhancing. Abortion violates that obligation.”

President of National Association of Catholic Nurses, U.S.A. Diane Ruzicka, RN, MSN, said, “Physicians and nurses have a sacred responsibility to preserve and protect life. This was well known by the pagan Greek physician Hippocrates (430-370BC) credited with composing the Hippocratic Oath in which he stated, ‘I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.’ Translated by Michael North, National Library of Medicine, 2002.

“The natural moral law informs us that civilized societies do not kill their young.

“As a society founded on the natural moral law and Christian principles, the Bible which is the Word of God consigned to writing, reveals how precious is man:

  1. ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you….’ — God to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:5
     
  2. ‘Does a woman forget her baby at the breast, or fail to cherish the son of her womb? Yet even if these forget, I will never forget you.’ — God to Isaiah in Isaiah 49:15  
  3. Lastly, it was the unborn baby in the womb of Elizabeth who first recognized Jesus, the Savior of the world, in the womb of Mary. At six months gestation John the Baptist recognizes the newly conceived Jesus, God incarnate, the Word of God made flesh, in His mother’s womb. — Luke 1:41

“Human life is precious and of immense dignity. Physicians and nurses have a sacred duty to protect life from conception to the time of death ordained by God,” Ruzicka said.

The coalition’s full statement can be viewed here.

SOURCE Christian Medical Association

CONTACT: Margie Shealy, Margie.shealy@cmda.org, 423-844-1047

Christian Medical Association Doctors Laud HHS Conscience Rule as Protecting Patients and Doctors

News Release

Christian Medical Association

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2019 /Standard Newswire/ — 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.

CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens said, “Our patients need to know that we as doctors can be trusted to conscientiously adhere to objective ethical standards and moral commitments that serve to protect them. They need to know we are not going to lay aside longstanding ethical norms and medical concerns just because ideologically-driven politicians or bureaucrats or hospital administrators might pressure us to do so by threatening our ability to practice medicine.”

CMA Senior Vice President Dr. Gene Rudd, an OB/Gyn physician, said, “In recent years, some abortion advocates have proposed effectively banning pro-life physicians from medicine, essentially because we adhere to the Hippocratic Oath. That long-standing objective standard protects our unborn patients while also protecting our born patients from other abuses of medical power such as involuntary euthanasia and sexual abuse. Without pro-life OB/Gyn physicians, who will serve the millions of women and men who also hold to pro-life commitments?

“Conscience protection is one of the treasures of our society. It is enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution, reflecting its importance. Some would want to take this right away from others when they disagree on certain issues. But protection for each person is critical to protection for all. The HHS conscience rules are critical to preserving this freedom.”

CMA Executive Vice President Dr. Mike Chupp observed, “We are committed to serving every kind of patient with compassion and competence, but that’s very different from saying we will do any procedure or fill any prescription regardless of ethical or medical concerns. Healthcare professionals of faith and conscience are committed to the mantra ‘Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere but NOT Anything!’ Without conscience freedom in healthcare, whatever ideology the government chooses will be the grounds used to exclude all objectors. The result would be a loss of healthcare access for patients, and especially the patients of faith-based health professionals who often minister to the underserved and marginalized.”

CMA Vice President for Government Relations Jonathan Imbody noted, “This HHS rule enforces and educates regarding existing conscience laws passed by Congress on a bipartisan basis, back when Congress was more bipartisan. The rule reminds the government and the health community that we all live in a country that values freedom of conscience and tolerance of diverse views. Conscience freedoms protect liberals, conservatives and everyone in between, on issues ranging from capital punishment to abortion to research ethics. Without tolerance for diversity and conscience convictions in healthcare, patients lose access to doctors, and health professionals lose their careers.”

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

SOURCE Christian Medical Association

CONTACT: Margie Shealy, 423-341-4254

Related Links  www.Freedom2Care.org

Christian Medical Association and Freedom2Care Applaud Administration’s Actions to Protect Conscience in Healthcare

News Release

Christian Medical Association

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2017 — Today the nation’s largest association of Christian health professionals, the 18,000-member Christian Medical Association (CMA, Christian Medical Association www.cmda.org) applauded the administration’s actions to restore conscience freedoms in healthcare. The administration took action concerning the Obamacare contraceptives mandate, insurance premiums used to pay for abortions, and regarding government respect for religious freedom.

“We are thankful to see these vital conscience freedoms restored in healthcare,” noted CMA Senior Vice President Gene Rudd, MD, and Ob-Gyn physician. “For millennia, medical ethics have provided for conscientious opposition to abortion by physicians who took up the practice of medicine as a healing art never to be used for the destruction of human life. And until recently, our government reinforced those ethical principles with conscience protections. We are heartened to see our government heading back in the direction of these vital freedoms that protect patients, medicine and freedom in our country.”

Jonathan Imbody, director of Freedom2Care (www.Freedom2Care.org), which is affiliated with CMA said, “As Americans who have inherited a nation founded upon freedom of faith, conscience and speech, we can agree that the government must never force individuals to violate their deepest held beliefs on vital and extremely controversial issues such as abortion. When our leaders forget these principles, and take to forcing nuns to participate in matters they consider wholly immoral, the American people realize that our fundamental freedoms are in jeopardy. If the government can take away the rights of one group, then no one is safe from government coercion.

“These actions today by the administration are an important step back in the direction of freedom and respect for one another, and we look forward to more actions in the future, including restoration of the conscience rule for health professionals that President Obama gutted.”

Contact: Margie Shealy, Christian Medical Association, 423-341-4254

In US Supreme Court Brief, Christian Doctors Cite Conscience Conflicts Similar to Creative Artists

News Release

Christian Medical Association

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2017 – The nation’s largest faith-based professional association of health professionals, the Christian Medical Association (CMA, www.cmda.org), contends in a legal brief filed with the Supreme Court that its members’ conscience battles parallel those of creative artists sued for declining to participate in proceedings inconsistent with their conscience and convictions.

CMA has filed a brief with the Court in the case (Masterpiece Bakeshops v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission) of Jack Phillips, a cake artist sued for declining to participate in a same-sex wedding, an event that contradicts his moral persuasions. CMA contends in its brief that health professionals face similar challenges to their First Amendment freedoms in situations involving abortion and other matters involving ethical choices and professional medical judgment.

The brief contends, “To force Mr. Phillips to make this cake would threaten a core liberty that is of the greatest possible importance to medical professionals – protection against compelled speech contrary to conscience, including purely symbolic expression. [T]he implications for the rights of medical professionals in the practice of their professions are clear, and disturbing.”

CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens commented, “This case reminds us that a threat to the First Amendment freedoms of one group is a threat to the First Amendment freedoms of everyone. Regardless of where one stands on controversial issues, as Americans we can all agree that the government cannot be allowed to compel any one of us to express ourselves in a way that violates our deepest held beliefs.

“Preserving freedom of medical judgment for doctors is an essential protection for patients. Imagine if the government were to dictate every medical decision and decide every medical prescription and procedure apart from the medical judgment of the doctors who know and care for their patients best.”

Contact:

Margie Shealy, Christian Medical Association, 423-341-4254

Linking Healthcare Access to Conscience Freedoms, Christian Medical Association Hails Presidential Executive Order

News Release

Christian Medical Association

WASHINGTON, May 4, 2017 /Standard Newswire/ — Citing the link between patient access to healthcare and conscience freedom for health professionals, the 18,000-member Christian Medical Association (CMA, www.cmda.org) today expressed gratitude for President Trump’s executive order that begins to provide stronger protections against discrimination against individuals and organizations of faith.

“Protecting religious freedom means protecting the millions of individuals served by organizations and professionals who are motivated and guided by the tenets of their faith,” explained Dr. David Stevens, CEO of the 85-year-old nonpartisan organization of Christian doctors and students. “The faith that compels so many health professionals to minister to patients in underserved areas and populations is the same faith that compels us to practice according to moral and ethical guidelines. Conscience freedoms are the foundation of our service.

“When the government refuses to accommodate those faith principles, or–as we experienced in the previous administration’s contraceptives and transgender mandates–attempts to coerce people of faith to violate those principles, those who suffer include the poor, the marginalized and the vulnerable.”

Represented by Becket Law, the Christian Medical Association recently successfully challenged the Obama administration’s transgender mandate. Represented by Americans United for Life, CMA filed an amicus brief in the contraceptives mandate Supreme Court case, Zubik v. Burwell.

CMA also worked to help establish the nation’s first health professionals’ conscience protection rule, promulgated in 2008 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Obama administration subsequently gutted the conscience rule and also attempted to force faith-based organizations to participate in morally objectionable contraceptives such as Plan B and the morning-after pill.

“We are grateful for this executive order that begins to turn the tide back toward freedom of faith and speech, including political speech. Americans do not give up their First Amendment protections when they speak from the pulpit, counsel their patients or minister in a faith-based outreach to help the poor,” Dr. Stevens observed. “Threatening the First Amendment freedoms of any one group threatens the First Amendment freedoms of all of us, and protecting those freedoms protects us all.”

Contact: Margie Shealy, Christian Medical Association, 888-230-2637, 423-341-4254 mobile, margie.shealy@cmda.org

Joint letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Proposed Regulation: 80 Fed. Reg. 54172 (Sept. 8, 2015).

Re: Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities RIN 0945-AA02

Click image to see letter

CMA doctors hail Supreme Court mandate ruling, decry ongoing targeting of faith community

News release

Christian Medical Association

Washington, DC – June 30, 2014 – The 15,000-member Christian Medical Association (CMA, www.cmda.org), the nation’s largest and oldest faith-based doctors’ organization, today praised the Supreme Court’s ruling in two Health and Human Services (HHS) Obamacare mandate cases but noted “increasing attempts by the government to coerce the faith community.” CMA had outlined the medical aspects underlying religious objections to the HHS Obamacare mandate in its friend of the court brief in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood v. Sebelius.

CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens said in a statement, “We are very thankful that the Supreme Court acted to protect family businesses from government coercion and fines for simply honoring the tenets of their faith.

“This is a much-needed victory for faith freedoms, because this administration continues its assault on the values of the faith community. We are witnessing increasing attempts by the government to coerce the faith community to adopt the government’s viewpoint in matters of conscience,” noted Stevens.

CMA also filed a friend-of-the-court brief in another Supreme Court case this term, McCullen v. Coakley, to defend First Amendment free speech and assembly rights of pro-life advocates against a Massachusetts law that prohibited many citizens from entering a public street or sidewalk within 35 feet of an abortion facility.

“There seems to be growing intolerance of the faith community by some government officials who appear to want to extinguish the First Amendment freedoms that allow for a diversity of values,” Stevens observed, “We are seeing this antagonism expressed in coercive government mandates enforced with harsh penalties and discriminatory practices that threaten to eliminate the faith community from the public square.”

Dr. Stevens noted that the Obama administration recently launched another sweeping mandate that appears to target faith-based groups, requiring agreement with same-sex marriage as a condition of receiving federal grants. CMA’s Freedom2Care website (www.Freedom2Care.org) details other violations of faith and conscience rights: