Christian Physicians Weigh In on Health Care Reform

The Christian Medical Association sent a letter to President Obama Tuesday notifying him that over 10,000 health care professionals and individuals have signed a petition calling for changes to be made to current health care bills in Congress.

Signers of the Freedom2Care petition urged the president and Congress to protect conscience rights and to stop abortion mandates. The petition took issue with the Capps amendment in the House bill, saying it would publicly fund abortions. It also called for the removal of the Kennedy amendment in the Senate bill, which the petition says would require physicians to perform or refer abortions.

"Our polling demonstrates that the American people by two-to-one margins support conscience-protecting laws and the conscience-protecting regulation that President Obama plans to get rid of," said CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens.

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Meanwhile, CMA senior vice president Gene Rudd, an obstetrician-gynecologist, said a poll conducted by the organization found that the overwhelming majority of American patients say it is "very" or "somewhat" important to them that they share a similar set of morals with their doctors, nurses and other health care providers.

The majority of Americans believes it is important that healthcare professionals in America are not forced to participate in procedures and practices that they have a moral objection to, the survey found.

"It's time that the President and Congress get in step with the American people, stop trying to mandate and publicly fund abortions, and start protecting the conscience rights that are key to protecting access to healthcare for millions of poor patients," said Rudd.

Also revealed in CMA's national survey was that 95 percent of faith-based physicians agree that they would rather stop practicing medicine than be forced to violate their conscience. Another survey finding is nearly a third (32 percent) of faith-based health care professionals report having been pressured to refer a patient for a procedure to which they had moral, ethical, or religious objections to.

"This survey demonstrates the problem of discrimination in health care and that protecting conscience rights through both law and regulation is key to protecting patients' access to health care now and in the future," the letter to President Obama stated.

The petition was organized by the Freedom2Care coalition, which brings together over 50 organizations, including the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, the American College of Pediatricians, Pharmacists for Life, Salvation Army, and the Christian Medical Association.

The Christian Medical & Dental Associations has a current membership of more than 15,000 health care professionals, according to the group's website.

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