I received an announcement this morning from my dear friend, David Stevens, MD, announcing something that is coming as a surprise to many — his resignation from the AMA.
Resignations from the AMA are not really the fodder for news stories or blogs, except when the person resigning is the CEO of a national organization for Christian physicians and healthcare professionals. Dr. Stevens heads the 17,000-member Christian Medical Association, and is contending the AMA has become a pro-abortion advocacy group.
Stevens told LifeNews.com on Tuesday that he is canceling his membership in the American Medical Association as a way of publicly protesting what he says is the AMA’s control by special interests that do not represent most physicians.
The AMA has come under fire for endorsing healthcare overhaul legislation after closed-door negotiations with legislators even though it contains the largest expansion of abortion funding since Roe v. Wade.
“I can no longer associate with or support an organization that is unscientific, unprofessional and controlled by special interests,” Dr. Stevens asserted in a letter sent earlier this week to the AMA.
Stevens is also advising the organization’s 17,000 members to “carefully consider if they should continue their memberships in the AMA.” My guess is that many, if not most, will follow his lead and example.
In his letter to the doctors’ group, Stevens says the “AMA has even violated its own ethical statements in political advocacy at the behest of a vocal pro-abortion faction within AMA.”
The abortion advocacy Dr. Stevens condemns extends to the AMA position on the conscience rights of physicians.
“Your resolution on right of conscience states that the ‘AMA reaffirms that neither physician, hospital, nor hospital personnel shall be required to perform any act violative of personally held moral principles.’ Yet you have worked vigorously at the federal level to overturn the only federal regulation that protects your members from this type of discrimination,” he explained.
Stevens cited the AMA’s support of abortion and also embryonic stem cell research as examples of policies that contradict and undermine the positions of many physicians.
Stevens concluded, “In light of radical policies, it is no wonder that AMA’s membership has dropped since the 1960’s from nearly three of four practicing doctors to closer to one in five. Personally, I no longer see any hope of changing your radical positions by working from the inside.”
According to a report in LifeNews.com, while the AMA has its own set of problems, its state affiliates do as well — and may be taking conflicting positions because of a lack of leadership from the national level.
The Montana Medical Association refused to weigh in on a lawsuit seeking to legalize assisted suicide there.
Meanwhile, the Wyoming Medical Society has weighed in on various pro-life bills to limit abortions or ban assisted suicide — taking opposition positions to the bills each time.
On the other side of the coin, in August, the Wisconsin Medical Society rejected a measure that would have had the state medial group on record as supporting the practice of assisted suicide.
In his letter, Dr. Stevens writes:
As a physician, ethicist and CEO of the 17,000-member Christian Medical Association, I also plan to encourage my colleagues to carefully consider if they should continue their memberships in the AMA, for the following reasons:
• The AMA claims to put the needs of patients first and then meets with Senate leaders to bargain for higher physician Medicare reimbursement in exchange for support of healthcare reform legislation. This unseemly, behind-closed-doors session trades the future welfare of our patients away for physicians’ personal gain. It is a violation of the doctor-patient covenant and sells out our professional heritage.
• The AMA has even violated its own ethical statements in political advocacy at the behest of a vocal pro-abortion faction within AMA. Your resolution on right of conscience states that the AMA reaffirms that neither physician, hospital, nor hospital personnel shall be required to perform any act violative of personally held moral principles. Yet you have worked vigorously at the federal level to overturn the only federal regulation that protects your members from this type of discrimination.
• The AMA’s support of abortion and embryonic stem cell research that destroy life in the name of health and science violates the basic tenets of Hippocratic medicine and morality.
• The AMA’s abandonment of science is illustrated in the recent endorsement of medical marijuana despite clear evidence that it is unnecessary (more effective drugs exist), unsafe (unknown quality, potency, dosage and safe delivery system), has negative health effects and serves as a gateway drug.
• The AMA is controlled by special interests that do not represent the views of its members. Its recent endorsement of homosexual marriage as it caters to its GLBT faction is a glaring example of this. You have used my reputation and influence as a physician member to further a destructive attempt at social engineering that has been defeated by voters in state after state.
In light of these radical policies, it is no wonder that AMA’s membership has dropped since the 1960’s from nearly three of four practicing doctors to closer to one in five. Personally, I no longer see any hope of changing your radical positions by working from the inside.
It’s my hope that Dr. Stevens and the CMDA will lead the way to form a new medical association representing the views of the tens of thousands of faith- and morals-based physicians across the country.
What would I call such an association?
The Hippocratic Medical Association.
My belief is that healthcare professionals who believe in the Hippocratic Oath would flock to such an association. And, I believe patients would be comforted to know their healthcare professional was a member of such an organization.