FRANKS: Obama's Conscience Regulations Threaten OB-GYN's

March 3, 2009


Pro-Life Hero Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) published a commentary in this week’s Human Events. The article points to the new battle against right of conscience laws for pro-life OB-GYNs.

 “This week, President Obama begins his assault on centuries of legal precedent and medical ethics, pushing forward in his effort to roll back regulations that protect physicians’ rights of conscience.  The regulations prohibit recipients of federal funds from coercing professionals to perform services that violate their conscience…

 While Obama’s strategy to upend these protections threatens many professionals… perhaps the most vulnerable in the immediate future will be America’s pro-life OB-GYNs.”

 Franks traces the abortion industry’s war path back to the 2007 Women Deliver Conference. This gathering of pro-abortion activists, decided that in order to have restriction-free, abortion on demand, the right of conscience laws protecting OB-GYNs had to go.

 As the Congressman explains, the two organizations in charge of certification and maintaining ethics for all obstetricians and gynecologists put forth a new rule, stating that OB-GYNs must perform abortions, despite their religious and/or cultural values.

 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists wrote this draconian rule on ethics. Then, the American Board of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (whose job it is to certify all OB-GYNs) stated that if anyone did not follow the new rule, their medical certification would be revoked. Congressman Franks sums it up quite well,

 “The message was loud and clear; Act according to your convictions, and you risk losing your career.

The question [is]:  Should government eliminate the specified protections for a professional who could be compelled to act against conscience — even where the action is the taking of an innocent human life?  Given the selection of Kathleen Sebelius to lead HHS, we can bet that the Obama answer to the Obama question will be a ‘Yes.’”

 What would the effects be if Obama succeeds in repealing the right of conscience protections put in place by President Bush? Congressman Franks explains:

“For the pro-life OB-GYN, there are two patients to consider in the case of a confirmed pregnancy:  mother, and child.  With this in mind, the physician must remain true to the Hippocratic Oath that has guided the medical profession for more than 2,000 years, the first admonition of which is ‘do no harm.’  Though long forgotten, the original Hippocratic Oath likewise contained an unequivocal prohibition against abortion.  Therefore, the Obama regulation repeal would, in effect, permit punishment in the form of threatened or actual de-licensure for physicians who follow their Hippocratic Oath.

Loss of freedoms is one tragedy, but there is another;   The price of this policy will surely be paid by the nation’s women.  If approximately 2,000 pro-life OB-GYNs hold fast to their conscience and are consequently put out of service, then the nation’s critical OB-GYN shortage will be greatly exacerbated, particularly in underserved areas.

Likewise, religiously-affiliated hospitals could have no choice but to close their doors.  Ironically then, in this quest to subdue pro-life forces within the medical community, the clear casualty — in addition to millions of unborn — is women’s health care.
 Rather than politicizing medicine as a token favor to his friends at Emily’s List, Obama should put fundamental freedoms and women’s health care first.”

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