Physicians take legal, educational steps to defend conscience rights
WASHINGTON (CNS) — To combat what they see as threats to the conscience rights of health care professionals who oppose abortion, the Catholic Medical Association and other organizations are taking both legal and educational steps.
The Philadelphia-based Catholic Medical Association, which has some 1,100 members nationwide, has joined with the Christian Medical Association and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists in an effort to intervene legally against lawsuits filed by the attorneys general of eight states, Planned Parenthood of America and the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association.
The suits seek to overturn a Department of Health and Human Services regulation that codifies several existing federal statutes prohibiting discrimination against health professionals who decline to participate in abortions or other medical procedures because of their religious or other moral objections.
Without the regulation, which took effect two days before the inauguration of President Barack Obama, members of the three groups would be subject to “the imminent threat of being forced … to perform abortions, assist in abortions, train for abortions and refer individuals for abortions despite their religious, moral and ethical objections to the practice of abortion,” said court papers filed with the U.S. District Court in Hartford, Conn.