Letter to HHS Secretary Urges Reinstitution of 2008 Conscience Protections

“Healthcare access for hundreds of thousands of patients nationwide will be threatened and healthcare costs will rise because of the lack of facilities to provide needed services,” warned a joint letter to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services following the Obama administration’s recent move to strip the medical community of nearly all its conscience protections under federal law. Medical Students for Life of America, currently on a bioethics tour across the country, partnered with the Christian Medical Association, Catholic Medical Association, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) and more than 100 medical professionals and students to sign and send the joint letter.

Kristan Hawkins, Executive Director of Students for Life of America, noted,

“95% of physicians in a recent national poll agreed that they ‘would rather stop practicing medicine altogether than be forced to violate their conscience.’ The decision to take away doctors’ conscience rights has tremendous implications on the patients who need their care. Without conscience protections, many faith-based hospitals that provide services to millions have already said they would shut down rather than provide any abortion-related services. Secretary Sebelius must retract the recent HHS policy change to protect current and future medical professionals, and the patients who require their care and expertise.”

“This will drive thousands of medical professionals and medical students out of healthcare, stranding hundreds of thousands of patients, especially those in rural areas who rely on only a few doctors in their communities. Healthcare costs will necessarily increase because of the lack of doctors and medical facilities. We are calling upon Secretary Sebelius to retract the Department’s statement and restore full conscience protections for all current and future medical professionals of faith and conscience.”

On February 18th, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rescinded most of the medical professional conscience protections that were put into place in 2008 by the Bush Administration. Without the safeguard of the full conscience clause outlined by these protections, healthcare access for hundreds of thousands of patients nationwide will be threatened and healthcare costs will rise because a countless number of medical professionals will stop providing care rather than be forced to prescribe abortion-causing drugs, do in vitro fertilization which claims the lives of human embryos, and other morally objectionable activities. The lack of facilities and professionals needed to provide services will drastically fall.

The letter is sent amidst the National Medical Students for Life Tour which is traveling the country to host Bioethics Symposiums with medical schools and universities across 15 states, in only two weeks time.

To speak with Kristan Hawkins, contact kristan@studentsforlife.org, or phone: 703-351-6280.