In the first years following the January 22, 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion decision, Wisconsin Right to Life worked for passage of a Wisconsin law to allow hospitals and medical professionals to refuse to participate in abortions for reasons of conscience. Similar laws have been passed at the federal level. Even with these protective laws in place, conscience rights for medical professionals are now under siege.
To the rescue comes the Bush administration. New rules have been proposed which would require that recipients of federal funds for health programs sign a certification stating that they will not discriminate against nurses and other medical professionals who object to participating in abortion by not hiring them. Hospitals, clinics, researchers and medical schools would be required to sign the “written certifications” before receiving federal funds.
Even though we have state and federal laws which protect the right of conscience in regards to abortion, the Bush administration wants to ensure that federal money does not “support morally coercive or discriminatory practices or policies in violation of federal law.” In other words, we have the laws, now we need to make certain they are followed.
In an interview with LifeNews.com, Dr. David Stevens, head of the 13,000-member Christian Medical Association (CMA), said he is “pleased President Bush is moving ahead with protections for pro-life doctors and nurses.” The article reports that an internal survey of the CMA membership revealed that 41% of pro-life physicians had been pressured to compromise their views on the job.
Stay tuned — these new rules are tentative and are not yet in force.