Washington, DC–July 6, 2011–The Christian Medical Association (CMA) today sent to President Obama a letter on behalf of 61,154 individuals who signed a petition urging the President to uphold and enforce conscience rights in health care. The issue is especially important for faith-based physicians who say they will leave medicine if forced to compromise their life-affirming ethical convictions.
In a letter to President Obama, CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens wrote, “I write to urge your support of conscience-protecting measures in law and in regulation–to help put a stop to discrimination against life-affirming healthcare professionals, and to protect healthcare access for the millions of patients who depend upon their often charitable services.”
A total of 61,154 individuals signed a petition to President Obama through the CMA-managed Freedom2Care coalition, urging him to preserve the only federal regulation protecting conscience rights in health care.
Dr. Stevens noted, “Unfortunately, your administration recently gutted that regulation. That decision leaves many healthcare professionals wide open to discrimination–you can read their personal stories. The gutting of the regulation also threatens the healthcare access of the many life-affirming patients who value the freedom to choose professionals who share their moral values.
“I urge you to consider the voices and values of these many Americans and (a) restore a strong conscience-protecting regulation and (b) support and sign into law strong conscience-protecting legislation.”
The conscience petition campaign continues and has expanded to include legislators, as Congress considers several conscience-protecting bills.
“We urge all life-affirming patients and healthcare professionals in America to join this petition to help secure the legal protections needed to continue ethical, faith-based medicine,” Dr. Stevens said.
In his letter, Dr. Stevens also called on the President to have his administration educate the healthcare community accurately about existing legal protections.
Dr. Stevens noted that the “broad legal protections afforded by the federal Church Amendment, part (d) should be widely promoted and consistently enforced: ‘No individual shall be required to perform or assist in the performance of any part of a health service program or research activity funded in whole or in part under a program administered by the Secretary of Health and Human Services if his performance or assistance in the performance of such part of such program or activity would be contrary to his religious beliefs or moral convictions.'”
A recent poll conducted by the polling company, inc. found strong public support across partisan and ideological lines for the conscience protections in the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act H.R. 3, recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.
A nationwide poll commissioned in 2009 by the Freedom2Care coalition found that over nine in ten faith-based physicians indicated they would leave medicine if denied the ability to practice according to their moral beliefs.