New poll: Obama plan to scrap conscience rule panned by the public and a threat to patients

The Christian Medical Association (CMA), the nation’s largest association of faith-based physicians, today warned that the Obama administration’s plan to scrap a conscience-protecting healthcare regulation is very unpopular and threatens to cut off patient access to healthcare professionals and institutions nationwide, especially imperiling the poor and medically underserved populations.

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Speaking at the National Press Club, my dear friend and CMA CEO, Dr. David Stevens, unveiled the new national poll conducted by The Polling Company that shows that 87% of American adults surveyed said it is important to “make sure that healthcare professionals in America are not forced to participate in procedures and practices to which they have moral objections.”

The national telephone survey of the public also showed that 63% support the existing conscience protection regulation and 62% oppose the Obama administration’s proposal to get rid of it. Public comments on Obama’s proposal end April 9.

Also, a new online poll of faith-based healthcare professionals, also conducted by The Polling Company, Inc., found that 95% of physicians agreed, “I would rather stop practicing medicine altogether than be forced to violate my conscience.”

Dr. Stevens said, “Rescinding these regulations is dangerous for patients. They may soon find a sign hanging on the door of their doctor’s office or hospital stating, ‘Out of business–wouldn’t do abortions.'”

The public poll found that fully 88% of American adults surveyed said it is either “very” or “somewhat” important to them that they enjoy a similar set of morals as their doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers.

Dr. Stevens noted, “Patients have a right to choose a healthcare professional who shares their moral views. No reasonable patient wants a doctor doing a procedure on them with which they are not only uncomfortable, but morally opposed to.

“These regulations put teeth into the law and insure patients have the doctors and nurses they need. Removing them sends a clear message, ‘It is open season on healthcare professionals of conscience. Discriminate at will.'”

CMA has organized Freedom2Care, a coalition of 35 organizations representing over five million constituents, to advance conscience protections. Individuals have used the Freedom2Care web site to send over 34,000 comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

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