The Christian Medical Association (disclaimer: I am a lifetime member of the CMA) has been leading the way in the national fight to protect the right of prolife physicians (and healthcare professionals) to choose to not perform or refer for abortions and other morally objectionable procedures and prescriptions.
But, according to the CMA, recent events may lead to ob-gyns possibly losing their board certification simply for refusing to refer a woman to an abortionist.
Here’s an article by by friend, Jon Imbody, that explains this unimaginable possibility:
CMA’s Washington Office has been working with members of Congress, the White House and officials in federal agencies to counter the recent ethics statement undermining conscience rights, published in November by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AC)G).
Details of ACOG’s assertions and CMA’s response can be viewed at the CMDA web site.
Under pressure from Congress, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, organizations including CMA, and individual physicians, ACOG officials recently promised to review its recent anti-conscience ethics statement. ACOG also sent a letter seeking to reassure ACOG members.
However, the radically pro-abortion organization’s leaders actually have not backed away an inch from ACOG’s requirement for physicians to refer patients for abortions.
And while the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) has asserted that it has not (at least in the past) denied physicians certification on the basis of a failure to perform or refer for abortions, ABOG has yet to publish any written assurance that this will not happen in the future, in light of the new ACOG ethics statement.
Spokespersons from both organizations have told media that the new ACOG ethics statement is not among the “binding” ACOG ethics statements.
Yet no one has offered any clarification as to which ethics statements are binding and which are not binding.
The written ABOG maintenance of certification document states simply that “violation of ABOG or ACOG rules and/or ethics principles” constitute grounds for loss of board certification.
Without written clarification on which ACOG statements are actually binding, officials from either organization could exploit the ambiguity by choosing to cite and enforce any ACOG ethics policy as grounds for penalizing pro-life physicians.
As graduate pro-life physicians face attacks on conscience from groups like ACOG, medical school students and residents face similar attacks in the classroom and from supervisors. As CMA member J. Wesley Earley wrote:
“I am a third-year medical student. In my second semester, we take a Medical Ethics course. On numerous occasions, I was repudiated by the professor for my unwillingness to profess as acceptable her position that all physicians MUST refer a patient wishing an abortion to an abortion provider (since I obviously was unwilling to perform one myself).
“The professor’s point was that the woman desiring the abortion was my patient and I was ethically bound to refer her in order to meet my ethical obligation of ‘non-abandonment’ once I had accepted her as a patient. My response to her was that I was ethically and morally beholden to defend the life of the unborn child, and that my vow of placing my patient’s well-being before all else took precedent in preserving the child’s life over terminating the pregnancy for the woman’s convenience.
“The professor maintained that only the woman was my patient and that the unborn child was not – therefore my minimal ethical obligation to her was to refer her to an abortion provider in order to not abandon my patient.”
Another CMA member student, Trevor Kyle Kitchens, wrote:
“I am a first year medical student in the beginning stages of deciding which specialty I would like to pursue. I am currently very interested in OB/GYN, but I am afraid of the relationship between this field and abortion.
“By the way, I am 100% against abortion, and there is no way I would perform one. Moreover, there is no way I would tell a patient that abortion is an option under any circumstance, because I do not believe it is an option.
“My concern is that I will start a residence and would subsequently be required at some point to give a patient the option of abortion, which I would refuse. My fear is that taking this stand would cost me my residence position.
“Now, if that is what it comes down to, I will be glad to take the stand for Jesus Christ and give up my position. However, I would really like to be able to avoid this situation and complete my residence so that I could go on and serve the Lord in that field.
“So I guess my question is, ‘Can an institution take action against a resident for taking this type of a stand against abortion? And are there any institutions in particular that would be understanding of my beliefs and not ask me to compromise them?'”
These notes illustrate how important it is for both students and graduates to know what laws and regulations protect them when exercising their right of conscience.
We are urging federal agencies to publish clarifying guidance so individuals like you can stand by your rights instead of compromising, taking penalties, relocating or leaving the profession.
Christian physicians are needed to take a stand that could play a key role in helping to protect many other physicians now and the next generation of Christian physicians.
For the Christian healthcare professional wondering whether or not to speak out, CMA recommends that they consider Mordecai’s exhortation of Esther (4:13-14): “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”