A recent California Supreme Court ruling has significantly eroded our right to follow our consciences. According to the Washington Post, “The court ruled that physicians’ constitutional right to the free exercise of religion does not exempt businesses that serve the public from following state law that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”
The case involved a lesbian woman named Guadalupe Benítez, who sued her Christian doctors for refusing to provide artificial insemination. The doctors claimed that they refused the treatment because Benítez was unmarried, but Benítez alleged that it was actually because of her sexual orientation. Benítez was eventually referred to another medical practice—in fact, she now has a child—but she still went ahead with the lawsuit. Not because she could not get the treatment she wanted: It was all about forcing doctors to comply with her beliefs, in violation of their own.
Bear in mind that this ruling is not about essential or lifesaving care. It is about elective procedures that specifically go against the conscience of the doctors asked to perform them. As my colleague Kim Moreland observed on our blog, The Point, the court’s ruling goes against not only the Constitution, but even the American Medical Association. The AMA specifically mandates that “neither physician, hospital, nor hospital personnel shall be required to perform any act violative of personally held moral principles.”
This court ruling sets a dangerous precedent for religious believers involved in medical care—and in other fields as well. As you may recall, pro-life pharmacists have faced the same issue with the morning-after pill. This issue refuses to go away—and seeing the ruling that was handed down in the doctors’ case, I doubt that pro-abortion forces will let up until pharmacists also are deprived of their rights and forced to violate their own consciences or give up their profession.
For example, take a look at the outcry against a proposed Health and Human Services regulation that would protect freedom of conscience for health-care providers—a regulation, for instance, that would allow doctors not to perform an abortion. Roger Evans of Planned Parenthood weighed in, saying that “the regulations create all sort[s] of space for ideology and political views to insinuate themselves into medical practices, emergency rooms and clinics all across the country. And when that happens, women will suffer.”
Well, apparently the pro-abortion lobby wants no ideology except their own in medical practices. They actually want doctors to be forced to perform the procedure even if it goes against their own consciences. Never mind that this would keep many potential doctors and nurses out of the medical profession, meaning that in the long run, all of us would suffer.
Freedom of religion has long been the most cherished and respected right of Americans. But it would appear that the California Supreme Court and others have no problem sacrificing that freedom on the altar of late-20th century’s sexual ideology. And it seems very clear that not only are those who follow Jesus being asked to tolerate such things as same-sex “marriage” and abortion; now they are being asked to actively support them.
From BreakPoint®, September 16, 2008, Copyright 2008, Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with the permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or distributed without the express written permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. “BreakPoint®” and “Prison Fellowship Ministries®” are registered trademarks of Prison Fellowship