Students for Life Calls Changes to Healthcare Mandate “a choice that shows respect for all Americans”

“It should surprise no one that the abortion lobby pushed to force Americans to pay for their deadly drugs and services, but it’s un-American for taxpayers to be forced in to court to enjoy their Freedom of Religion,” said SFLA’s Kristan Hawkins.

WASHINGTON D.C. (10-06-17) – Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins praised the Trump Administration for changes to the mandates attached to the Affordable Care Act, calling it “a choice that shows respect for all Americans.”

Hawkins made the following statement: “The Obama Administration wrote the healthcare mandates with the help of the abortion industry, deliberately forcing people of faith to subsidize drugs some find morally objectionable. Even more offensive, they also mislabeled drugs that end life as ‘contraception’ and forced funding for them, too. That fact that nuns had to go to court to fight for their Constitutional right to freedom of religion when it comes to the contraceptive mandate shows just how broken the Obamacare mandates were.

“The Trump Administration also addressed the stealth abortion coverage in some of the qualified health plans by separating abortion, which is not healthcare, from the core list of things covered. Now, Americans will be informed if a plan they choose has abortion coverage in it, and they will need to pay separately for that coverage. Tax dollars will not be spent providing abortion coverage that people may not even know that they have in their plan.

“Students for Life thanks President Trump for following through on his promises to address the injustice created by the mandates in Obamacare. It should surprise no one that the abortion lobby pushed to force Americans to pay for their deadly drugs and services, but it’s un-American for taxpayers to be forced in to court to enjoy their Freedom of Religion. Still, fixing the healthcare law is just step one. No taxpayer dollars should go to abortionists, like those at Planned Parenthood, which is still raking in more than half-a-BILLION dollars a year in taxpayer monies. Planned Parenthood must be defunded – whether through changes in the healthcare law, in the tax proposal, or any other bill that legislators want to introduce.”

How safe is hormonal birth control?

How safe is hormonal birth control? This is a question that has been asked by thousands of women for years. If you listen to pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood, hormonal birth control is “very safe”. In fact when Planned Parenthood does mention the potential risks of hormonal birth control, they make sure to mention that the chances of having a serious health issue is greater from pregnancy than from hormonal birth control, and that the chances of serious health issue is “very, very small”. But, are the facts about hormonal birth controls safety as clear cut as Planned Parenthood would have us all believe? The answer is a very resounding, no.

Two recent studies have pointed to dangers and concerns associated with the use of hormonal birth control. The first, was a study of over 1,000,000 women in Denmark over the span of 14 years. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen used data kept by the nation of Denmark that showed prescriptions, diagnosis’s, and subsequent follow-ups from 2000-2013. This data showed that women who were prescribed hormonal birth control were 40% more likely to be diagnosed with depression and the chances were even greater among teen girls.

The other study was by the University of Michigan. This study, which was headed up by human evolutionary biologist Beverly Strassmann, found that four different formulations more than quadrupled the levels of a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone, and another formulation resulted in a 40% higher exposure to a synthetic version of estrogen. This is important because evidence shows that an increase in hormonal exposure also increases the likelihood of breast cancer.

These two studies show that, in addition to hormonal birth controls causing an increase in the likelihood of blood clots, that hormonal birth control is not nearly as ‘safe’ as Planned Parenthood would like you to think. Just another example of Planned Parenthood not telling women the truth.

Fertility Awareness-Based Family Planning: Good for Both Body and Soul

This is an article published by Ana-Maria Dumitru, sixth year MD-PhD candidate at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine and National Chair, Med Students for Life, in Public Discourse on March 23, 2017.

In the aftermath of the November election, there were several media reports that women across the country were scrambling to acquire birth control before the new administration took over. There is, of course, no looming ban on contraception in the works. But one key point seems to have been lost in the frenzy: drugs and devices that function as birth control methods and contraceptives aren’t good for women. Continue reading here,

New Resource: Conscience in Residency

Written by Ana-Maria Dumitru, national chair, Medical Students for Life

Have you ever felt like you were the only person in the room who had a different opinion? Have you ever been afraid to speak up about something you fundamentally disagreed with? Have you ever wondered whether there would be room for you in the medical landscape of the future?

I’ve been there.  You’re not alone.

Being pro-life in medical school can be challenging. Being pro-life in residency can be even harder, depending on the specialty and the program expectations.

But conscience rights should be protected no matter what your beliefs are.

To borrow an explanation from one of my favorite sources, Fulton Sheen, who once wrote that conscience is like your own personal little government. You have a built-in system of determining right and wrong, setting up your own boundaries, and adjusting based on new choices you’re faced with and new information you’re presented with.

If you make a bad decision, your conscience imposes a penalty, which can take the form of a minor feeling like a twinge of guilt, or can take the form of prompting you to go back and take action to fix a mistake. Your conscience governs your actions and provides the framework within you can reach your fullest potential as an individual in society.

It would be wrong to ask you to ignore your conscience for the sake of your career. In fact, this would make you a conflicted doctor. We go through rigorous medical training in order to acquire the necessary knowledge with which to treat our patients, and we make a promise to our patients that we will always act with their best health interests in mind. In order to do this, we need to be free to abide by our own conscience.

Several pro-life physicians from across the country have just launched a tremendously impactful initiative to help encourage students like us to claim our conscience rights. The newly launched Conscience In Residency program is an online resource designed to provide the latest and best quality research and resources for students who want to practice evidence-based pro-life medicine.

It can be easy to get discouraged when you’re faced with attendings and colleagues who vocally disagree with you – but don’t be afraid! Wherever you are, at whatever phase of training, know that there is an entire network of likeminded people out there – and now, with this online resource, this network is at your fingertips. You can read more about what motivated these doctors to start this program here.

The website has launched, but it is not fully equipped yet, so be sure to check back soon for the latest!

New Mental Health Abortion Study is Misleading

By Ana Maria Dumitru, national chair for Medical Students for Life

The media jumped all over a study this week that claimed to show abortion had no negative effects on a woman’s mental health – except if she was denied an abortion. Headlines like “Study: Abortion Doesn’t Harm Women’s Mental Health, but Denying One Does” ran everywhere, but was that really the story?

We don’t think so.

Back in July, a much larger study – following over 8,000 women for 13 years – was published by Dr. D. Paul Sullins of Catholic University of America, and reported an opposite finding and received no media attention (surprise, surprise). The new study from the University of California-San Francisco only followed about 1,000 for five years.

The Sullins study (read our blog on it here) confirmed that even after controlling for over twenty possible variables, there’s still a clear, significant increase in the relative risk of mental health disorders for women who have abortions. And this is compared to women with any other pregnancy outcome (live birth or miscarriage).

For what it’s worth, the Sullins study isn’t even the first study to find a clear link between abortion and mental health disorders. Before Sullins, we had the Fergusson study from New Zealand and the Pederson study from Norway, among others.

A brand new documentary called Hush, produced by a pro-choice woman, sheds much-needed light on this topic and expertly walks viewers through the evidence that abortion is indeed harmful to the mental health of women. Abortion advocates are already trashing the film because the film so clearly presents the many dangers associated with abortion.

The UC-SF study is part of a larger effort, I believe, to normalize abortion in our society. Unfortunately, what pro-abortion activists fail to see is that women are still the ones losing here. When a woman in a crisis pregnancy finds herself faced with her choice of whether or not to abort her child, she deserves to know the truth about her options.

Instead, we’re seeing more of what happened at the Democratic National Convention, where abortion was framed as “the right choice” for “strong women.” Suddenly, the conversation is being shifted to question the pregnant woman and to deny her the reality of the consequences of her choices. So now, we’re telling pregnant women that if they’re really “strong,” they’ll choose abortion, and then if those women experience depression afterwards or dare to regret their abortion, it’s their own fault for not being strong enough to handle it.

What is the outcome of this frame-shift? It puts the responsibility entirely on individual pregnant women, and leaves them alone in the aftermath. The danger here is that our society will start stigmatizing the woman who regrets her choice to abort her child. After all, why would we invest resources in counseling women if there are no possible negative consequences of abortion? Then, that woman, in addition to being more at risk for mental health disorders, will also be more alone than ever before.


FACTS- Student Ambassador Program

The Fertility Appreciation Collaborative (FACTS) is looking for medical students and other health professionals across the nation to be part of its Student Ambassador Program, to work within their communities to educate about the science of natural or fertility awareness based methods of family planning (FABMs). Duties include event planning, teaching FABMs, public speaking opportunities, help exhibit at local events for FACTS, engage social media, etc.  Med Students for Life works closely with FACTS and FACTS-trained speakers.  Read more details and the eligibility requirements here.


Fall 2016 Medical SFL Speaker Tour


Mon., Oct. 17 (1-2p.m.) Dr. Michael Egnor, M.D., pediatric neurosurgeon and Vice-Chairman of Neurosurgery at the State University of New York at Stony Brook will speak on Is Physician Assisted Suicide Ethical? at the newly formed Med SFL group at Rutgers (New Jersey) Medical School.

Tues., Oct. 18 Dr. Egnor will speak on PAS and end of life issues at Penn State College of Medicine (Hershey, PA). Sponsored by Catholic Medical Students Association (CMA) and the Christian Medical & Dental Society student division.

Wed., Oct. 19 (12:30-1:30p.m.) Dr. Byron Calhoun, M.D., Professor and Vice-Chair in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the West Virginia University-Charleston will speak on perinatal hospice at University of Illinois -Chicago College of Medicine. Sponsored by the Catholic Medical Students Association.

Thurs., Oct. 20 (8-10a.m.) Dr. Calhoun will speak at OSF-St. Francis OB/GYN Grand Rounds and to the OB/GYN Residents, in Peoria, IL.

Thurs., Oct. 27 (Noon – 12:45p.m.) Dr. Freda M. Bush, M.D., of East Lakeland OB/GYN Associates, will speak on social behavior education and sexual health at UAB Medical School (Birmingham, AL). Sponsored by the Christian Medical Missionary of Alabama.


Thurs., Nov. 3 Dr. Martha Shuping, M.D., Psychiatrist, will speak on women’s mental health and abortion at VA Commonwealth University Medical Center (Richmond, VA). Sponsored by the Catholic Grad School Association.

Thurs., Nov. 10 (Noon-1p.m.) Dr. Calhoun will speak on perinatal hospice at U.T.M.B. at Galveston, TX: School of Medicine. Sponsored by Right to Life Advocates.

Fri., Nov. 11 (Noon-1p.m.) Dr. Calhoun will speak on perinatal hospice/fetal surgery at McGovern Medical School (formerly UTH-TMC, Houston). Sponsored by Physicians for Life.


Fri, Dec. 2 (Noon-1p.m.) Dr. Marguerite Duane of FACTS will speak at the University of Wisconsin at Madison School of Medicine. Sponsored by the Catholic Medical Students Association.

Mon., Dec. 5 (Noon-1p.m.) Dr. Michael New, PhD, visiting associate professor at Ave Maria University, will speak on Pro-Life Success in the States: Strategies for the Current Decade and Beyond, at the University of KS Medical Center, sponsored by Jayhawks for Life.

The Texas abortion study on maternal mortality has several holes

Written by: Ana Maria Dumitru, new national chair for Medical Students for Life

Maternal mortality rates are up in Texas, and according to abortion advocates, it’s the fault of pro-lifers who slashed family planning budgets. Before getting swept away in the current of modern liberal thought and reasoning (or lack thereof), there are several key points about this study by Marian F MacDorman and colleagues. and about the coverage their study has received.

For starters, maternal mortality ratios and maternal mortality rates are not the same thing. The problems start in the introduction where MacDorman and colleagues state that “the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal 5a was to reduce the maternal mortality rate by 75% from 1990 to 2015.” (emphasis added)

In fact, the UN Goal 5a was to reduce maternal mortality ratios, not rates. The difference, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) is that the maternal mortality ratios are obtained by dividing the number of maternal deaths in a population 787px-Texas_flag_map.svgfor a given time interval by the number of live births occurring in the same population at that time.

Maternal morality ratios give an idea of the risk of death once a woman becomes pregnant, which can then lead to determining the quality of the healthcare system that the woman is in.

The maternal mortality rate is calculated by dividing the average annual maternal deaths in a population by the average number of women of reproductive age who are alive during the specified time interval in that population. As a result, the maternal mortality rate also factors in the fertility of the population, and both direct and indirect causes of death for a pregnant woman (for instance, pre-existing medical conditions).

Another major issue, as the authors acknowledge, is that the United States has not reported national maternal mortality data since 2007. Part of the problem is that before 2000, there was very little standardization for reporting the cause of death on death certificates. Between 2000 and 2014, most states gradually adopted a revised death certificate which included a pregnancy status question. During this time, as some states changed over sooner than others, maternal death data were confusing at best, making national calculations increasingly difficult to perform. What MacDorman and colleagues thus attempt to do is to take state-by-state maternal mortality data and create their own adjustments in order to facilitate comparisons over that time period.

This is where Texas comes in to play. When the authors analyzed their data, Texas stood out like a sore thumb. Specifically, the authors found that while Texas tracked similarly with the national maternal mortality data between 2000-2010, the calculated data after 2010 showed a doubling in adjusted maternal mortality rates. In their discussion, the authors then speculated as to what could be driving the changes they calculated, and they mentioned that Texas did have “some changes in the provisions of women’s health services” between 2011-2015.

Here the authors reference two sources, both of which are quite problematic in and of themselves. One is a New York Times article covering the Supreme Court’s hearing of oral arguments on this year’s Texas abortion case. By citing this article, perhaps the authors are implying potential restrictions to abortion access, although it ought to be noted that the Supreme Court struck down the intended law before it went into effect, so no restrictions were actually put into place. Therefore the purported changes to women’s health services were not due to changes in access to abortion in Texas during this time interval.

The second reference is a study by Amanda Stevenson and colleagues, and it evaluates changes in Planned Parenthood in Texas after state-wide cuts in funding for family planning services. Texas slashed its general state funding for family planning services by 66% in 2011, but Planned Parenthood was not the organization most negatively affected by this cut. Two-thirds of the clinics that closed after these funding cuts in fact were not affiliated with Planned Parenthood. Furthermore, Texas provided transition funding through 2012, which means that the cuts only kicked in during fiscal year 2013.

What’s truly remarkable is that the MacDorman study cited this as evidence of changes that could have contributed to the maternal mortality doubling of 2011, even though the changes wouldn’t have gone into effect until 2013, at which point their calculated maternal mortality in Texas has begun to go down again.

Even aside from all of these issues, there’s still one more obvious problem. According to the Houston Department of Health and Human Services, “from 2001 through 2006, the MMRatio for Texas was higher than that of the United States.” Which means that Texas was already aware that it had this problem, and it was a problem well before any changes were made to any kind of purported changes to access of family planning services. Also, between 2005-2006, Texas Planned Parenthood’s budget was cut by 31.2%, causing some closings of clinics – and according to the Macdorman article, during that time and the four subsequent years, there were no increases in maternal mortality (in fact some slight decreases).

There’s more that could be said about this article, but the bottom line is that while political ideology is getting busy misrepresenting facts, women in the United States are losing. It’s time for us as a nation to get our act together. We need to collect uniform data about maternal mortality so we can know where we actually stand, and then we need to mobilize to decrease our MMRatios – in Texas, and also from sea to shining sea.

New Study Confirms Post-Abortive Women Have Increased Risk of Mental Health Disorders

A new study published in July of 2016 confirms that abortion is consistently associated with increased risk of mental health disorders and substance abuse in late adolescence and early adulthood. Dr. D. Paul Sullins of the Catholic University of America released the results of an analysis conducted on data collected from 8,005 women in the United States who were followed over the course of thirteen years. The article was published in Sage Open Medicine, a peer-reviewed open-access journal, and can be accessed for free here.

Abortion activists have repeatedly denounced attempts to link abortion with any adverse events. In medical schools across the country, students are taught that there are no long-term consequences of abortion, and that abortion is a safe procedure. However, these statements are misleading at best. One of the major problems with abortion statistics in the United States is that each state sets its own reporting laws, which means that some states, like California for instance, don’t require any public reporting of abortion statistics. So for starters, we don’t know what we don’t know. Additionally, of the states that do report abortion statistics to the CDC, not all of those states report the same amount of information. Furthermore, the private pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute has consistently reported much higher (as much as 30% higher) abortion rates than those listed in the CDC reports, which calls into question the reliability of state reporting. Another major issue is that only 16 states require reporting information on abortion complications, and only 8 of these states actually publish abortion complications in their public abortion reports. Only 4 states inquire about maternal mortality post-abortion, and only one state inquires about any follow-up care provided to post-abortive mothers.

If your head is spinning with these numbers, that’s understandable, because the conclusion is that it’s shockingly difficult to get any straight answers on nationwide abortion statistics. Why are we being taught that there are no long-term consequences of abortion if we don’t have reliable reporting systems with which to track this information?

Here’s what you need to know about the Sullins study:

  • The Sullins study followed 8,005 women and tracked them across three average age time points: age 15, age 22, and age 28. All 8,005 of these women were examined at all three time points (the initial study had about a 20% dropout rate, but Sullins only included the women who completed all of the evaluations).
  • These data were from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (ADD Health), which was funded by 18 federal agencies and was initiated in 1994 with the intent of being “the largest and most extensive study of the health-related behaviors of U.S. adolescents during the transition to adulthood.”
  • Extensive adjustments for possible confounding variables were made, including adjustments for age, race, region of origin, childhood family conditions, socioeconomic status, educational status of participant and of participant’s parents, history of abuse, and preexisting mental health conditions.
  • It’s not the first longitudinal study to conclude that there’s a significant link between abortion and mental health disorders. Two examples of similar studies were Fergusson and colleagues’ New Zealand study (link) and Pedersen’s Norway study (link), both of which followed cohorts of women from adolescence into their late 20s. Both of those studies also concluded that there was a clear connection between abortion and “affective and addictive disorders, including depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and abuse of marijuana, alcohol, or other illicit drugs.”
  • The conclusions of the Sullins study are that even after adjusting for over twenty demographic variables and covariates, there is still a clear, significantly increased relative risk of mental health disorders for women who have abortions.
  • Importantly, the Sullins study compares across all pregnancy outcomes too (abortion, live birth, or unintended pregnancy loss). Even when comparing a woman who chooses abortion to a woman who loses a pregnancy for any other reason, the relative risks of mental health disorders are higher in post-abortive women.
  • Table 5 from the Sullins study is shown below and lists the relative risks associated by category:


Abortion, Substance Abuse and Mental Health in Early Adulthood: Thirteen-Year Longitudinal Evidence from the United States. D. Paul Sullins, 2016, Sage Open Medicine.

Congress Should Protect Conscience Rights for Medical Students Like Me

Written by Ana Maria Dumitru, a student in Med Students for Life. 

Reprinted from here.

Congress should pass the Conscience Protection Act to send a message to the entire nation that our freedom of speech and religious freedom are protected and valued.

I entered the MD/PhD Program at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine in the fall of 2011. I am deeply committed to the sanctity of every human life, and I knew going into Dartmouth that many of my classmates and professors would disagree with my genuinely held beliefs. However, Dartmouth is an institution that deeply values diversity in all forms, and this includes diversity of thought. This was a major factor in my decision to enroll, and I am so thankful that I did.

Over the last five years, I have encountered a wide variety of people with all sorts of views and beliefs, and as a result I have experienced tremendous personal growth. For the most part, the people with whom I’ve debated controversial issues have been reasonable. Occasionally, I have encountered unreasonable people who have opted to turn my pro-life stance into an opportunity for personal attack. In those instances, I have been defamed, intimidated, and belittled. I have been told I have no right to practice medicine because of my beliefs. Through these experiences, I have learned that we need structural supports to safeguard conscience rights. We cannot take good will for granted.

This is why Congress should vote to pass HR 4828, the Conscience Protection Act of 2016. It’s a good bill, and it does not change anything about access to abortion or legality of abortion. Regardless of whether the bill passes, abortion will be just as legal in the United States of America on Thursday, July 14, as it is today, Wednesday, July 13, the day the House of Representatives is set to vote on this bill.

The Importance of Individual Conscience

The Conscience Protection Act protects all health care providers and health care insurance companies from facing discrimination or fines for being pro-life. The bill states that the government cannot force health care professionals to perform or participate in abortions, and it cannot force health care providers such as churches and universities to cover abortion procedures through their insurance plans. In fact, the bill also explicitly states that this measure applies both ways: it includes measures to preserve the voluntary participation of individuals who want to provide or participate in abortions as well.

Why is the protection of conscience rights so significant? Each person has a conscience, and the development of the conscience hinges on personal formation. Our life experiences shape not only our memories but also our ability to make choices. As the ethical system of Aristotle teaches us, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Ultimately, the shaping of our conscience requires true freedom: freedom from coercion and freedom for the pursuit of our fullest humanity, in the fullness of truth. The key to an excellent life, as our Founding Fathers recognized, comes through the safeguarding of all of our basic freedoms.

As an aspiring physician and scientist, I particularly recognize the critical importance of freedom of thought—and the freedom to act in accordance with our best thoughts. Scientific inquiry is the basis of medical advancement, and scientists must be free to generate and test hypotheses in order to make important discoveries. In a similar way, health care providers must be free to make recommendations based on their expertise, training, and learned experiences in order to provide the highest quality care to patients. That’s the whole point of undergoing such extensive training in order to become a health care provider. Each person who walks into a medical facility seeking health care needs to know that his or her provider is operating freely in pursuit of the best health interests of each patient.

In medical school, I have studied embryology and anatomy. I became convinced from a scientific perspective that human life begins at conception. I used my faculties of reason to discern the truth, and I realized that I cannot provide or participate in abortion procedures. I would be violating my conscience if I tried to live as anything other than a pro-life person. From my vantage point as a pro-life medical student, I need to know that my freedom of conscience extends beyond the walls of my house. Specifically, I need to know that I have the freedom to make recommendations to my future patients based on my knowledge and experience, and that I am free from coercion when I make those recommendations. I need to know that I can evaluate the scientific literature and make medical decisions based on what is best for my patients, not based on political rhetoric or fear of repercussions.

Too many times over the last half decade, I have met likeminded students across the country who are afraid to speak up for their own consciences. At medical and graduate training programs across the nation, students like me find themselves stereotyped. We immediately become the “super religious” kids, and there are often implications in that label. Religiosity often codes for ignorance, closed-mindedness, and backward social views. Ironically, many of the pro-life students I have met in New England are not particularly religious. Some are atheists or agnostics, some consider themselves culturally affiliated with a religious group but not actively practicing. The inherent discomfort of being labeled is amplified for them because of the assumption that “pro-life” means “holier-than-thou.”

What’s Really at Stake

When I first moved to New England, some older students advised me to keep my head down. “Don’t rock the boat,” they told me. “One day, when you graduate, you can get to a position where you can create change.” But if I suppress my conscience throughout my training, I will repeatedly squelch my beliefs, and I will suffer internal turmoil because of the forced dissociation of my beliefs from my actions.

As the late Elie Wiesel so poignantly reminded us:

We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant.

Wiesel went on to point out that this applies “wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views.”

Much of the opposition to the Conscience Protection Act comes from a misunderstanding of what’s really at stake. I have come to expect skewed representation of information from certain media sources, but the underlying problem is even more pervasive. Even our elected members of Congress can misconstrue what’s really at stake: protecting the freedom of Americans to be pro-life without discrimination.

Last week, I wrote to my New Hampshire congressional representatives regarding the Conscience Protection Act. I wrote to them explaining why conscience rights are so important, and why I, as a voter in their state and a future health care professional, implore them to vote to protect my conscience rights, even if they disagree with my conscientious belief about the sanctity of life. One of my representatives wrote back to me and said, “thank you for reaching out to me with your views on a woman’s right to choose.” This illustrates the depth of the political rhetoric surrounding abortion legislation.

But in a way, that’s right. I am asking Congress to protect a woman’s right to choose. I’m asking Congress to protect this woman’s right to choose not to perform an abortion. I’m asking Congress to protect freedom of conscience, and my elected representative is responding by dodging the crux of the issue and wrapping her dissent in the translucent coat of protecting women’s right to choose an abortion.

The Conscience Protection Act is significant because it sends a message to the entire nation that our freedom of conscience and religious freedom are protected and valued. It serves as a promise from our legislators to the people, a promise that the United States of America really is the land of the free and home of those brave enough to stand up for what they believe in. By voting to pass this bill, Congress would acknowledge that people like me, pro-life students in academia, are just as free to oppose abortion as our pro-choice counterparts are to support it, and that no one can force us to violate our genuinely held beliefs.

Ana Maria Dumitru is a fifth-year MD-PhD candidate at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine.