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Monday, January 31, 2011

Judge protects pregnancy centers' free speech

Misnamed "pro-choice" activists in Baltimore, Md. tried to muzzle the free speech of pregnancy centers (which provide women with pregnancy tests, counsel and support during and after their pregnancy) by passing an ordinance requiring centers to post signs saying they don't provide abortions, abortion referrals or contraception. Abortion advocates claimed the measure was needed to insure that women visiting pregnancy centers received full "medical information."
However, as pointed out by CareNet, a national organization of pregnancy centers:
"If there truly is a legitimate concern for full disclosure and full information provided to women facing pregnancy-related decisions, the following amendments should be added to the bill to require abortion providers to disclose and subject them to similar criminal sanctions in the event they fail to disclose: (a) the various risks associated with abortions, (b) that abortion providers gain financially from a woman’s decision to abort and do not gain from a woman’s decision to parent or adopt; (c) the risks and failure rates of any contraception distributed by family planning agencies; (d) that abortion providers do not have hospital privileges at local hospitals in the event of a medical emergency; (e) that abortion providers and family planning centers do to refer to pregnancy centers; (f) that the abortion provider does not show ultrasound images to its clients or let them listen to the fetus’ heartbeat during pre-abortion examinations, (g) the lack of the full array of options and services available to pregnancy women by abortion providers, including the failure to provide adoption referrals."
The ordinance also violated the conscience rights of pro-life physicians and pregnancy centers, CareNet noted in its testimony before the Council:
City Council Bill 406 improperly infringes upon rights of conscience protections provided by Maryland law by subjecting physicians and pregnancy centers who oppose abortion to regulation involving criminal discipline. Maryland Code 20-214(a)(1) &(2) provides: "A person may not be required to perform or participate in, or refer to any source for, any medical procedure that results in artificial insemination, sterilization, or termination of pregnancy. The refusal of a person to perform or participate in, or refer to a source for, these medical procedures may not be a basis for: (i) Civil liability to another person; or (ii) Disciplinary or other recriminatory action against the person."

City Council members ignored the double standard and the conscience violation, however, and passed the ordinance.

As the Baltimore Sun reports, "In a decision issued Friday, U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis wrote that the requirement violates the centers' constitutional right to free speech."
CareNet President Melinda Delahoyde reacted to the decision in a press release by saying, “A victory for pregnancy centers is a victory for women facing unplanned pregnancies, women who deserve life-affirming options and abortion alternatives.”

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

CMA physicians endorse Smith-Lipinski bill to ban govt. abortion funding

The Christian Medical Association, a professional organization of 17,000 members, today published a letter that the CMA "enthusiastically endorses the 'No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act' to establish a consistent government-wide prohibition on abortion funding. The bipartisan bill is led by Rep. Chris Smith  (pictured with me at left following a White House bill signing ceremony for his cord blood banking bill) and Rep. Dan Lipinski. From the CMA letter:
We applaud the leadership of Reps. Chris Smith and Dan Lipinski and others in introducing this vitally important legislation.

The fact that this bill will codify the Hyde-Weldon conscience clause is tremendously important to our membership and to the patients they serve:
  • A national survey of faith-based physicians revealed that 95 percent are prepared to leave the practice of medicine if they cannot practice conscientiously, observing the life-affirming ethical standards that have guided medicine for millennia.
  • A national scientific poll found that 88% of American adults surveyed said it is either "very" or "somewhat" important to them that they share a similar set of morals as their doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers. (Polling results are available at http://www.freedom2care.org/learn/page/surveys.)
Current law has left a confusing patchwork of policies regarding funding for abortion and abortion coverage, and every year much time and effort is expended as these measures reappear in Appropriations bills.
The language of this bill, by contrast, is explicitly and refreshingly clear and simple:
"No funds authorized or appropriated by federal law, and none of the funds in any trust fund to which funds are authorized or appropriated by federal law, shall be expended for any abortion."
This legislation would make permanent the Hyde amendment, which applies to HHS appropriations; the Helms amendment, which applies to overseas programs, the Smith FEHBP amendment, which applies to coverage for federal employees; the Dornan amendment, which applies to Washington, DC; and other policies governing programs such as the Peace Corps and federal prisons.
We urge all lawmakers to cosponsor this excellent legislation.
Sincerely,
David Stevens, CEO

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Student nurse files complaint against Vanderbilt U for mandating abortion training

Our friends at the Alliance Defense Fund, which has taken up the case of conscience rights for several healthcare professionals, filed a complaint Tuesday with the Department of Health and Human Services against Vanderbilt University for requiring nursing residents to participate in abortion procedures.
The case illustrates the boldness with which abortion activists in academia are attempting to foist their ideology on everyone.
From the ADF news release today:
Vanderbilt receives more than $300 million in federal tax dollars each year, and federal law prohibits grant recipients from forcing students or health care workers to participate in abortions contrary to their religious beliefs or moral convictions.
ADF attorneys filed the complaint on behalf of a fourth-year nursing student at another university who wishes to apply to Vanderbilt’s nurse residency program but is unable to do so because the admission forms require her to promise to participate in abortions.
ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman said, “People enter the medical profession to protect and heal the helpless. Federal law protects them from being required to kill the helpless. The law clearly states that grant recipients cannot accept taxpayer dollars and require health care workers to participate in abortions, which is precisely what Vanderbilt is doing.”
Vanderbilt’s nurse residency application states, “If you are chosen for the Nurse Residency Program in the Women’s Health track, you will be expected to care for women undergoing termination of pregnancy. Procedures performed in the Labor and Delivery unit include…terminations of pregnancy…. If you feel you cannot provide care to women during this type of event, we encourage you to apply to a different track of the Nurse Residency Program to explore opportunities that may best fit your skills and career goals.…”
“Because the deadline for Vanderbilt’s nurse residency applications is January 28, 2011, it is imperative that HHS immediately act to prohibit Vanderbilt from rejecting or discriminating against nurse residency applicants…who do not wish to promise that they will assist abortions,” the ADF letter accompanying the complaint states, noting that the student filing the complaint “can and is prepared to submit all that the application requires and to fulfill all of the program’s requirements, except only that she has a religious objection to participating in abortions and to promising to do so by signing the Application’s letter.”
“We repeatedly see universities and other users of taxpayer dollars tell students and staff that they must submit to the institution’s preferred ideology or take a hike,” said ADF Senior Counsel David French. “What many of these institutions truly want--besides money--are people who share their leftist political and social views.”
ADF is currently litigating several cases involving Christians required to act against their conscience, including a nurse forced to assist in an abortion procedure at New York’s Mt. Sinai Hospital, a student rejected from Eastern Michigan University’s counseling program because she would not agree to affirm homosexual behavior as morally acceptable, and a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counselor fired because she would not provide counseling that would directly affirm or promote behavior contrary to her religious beliefs.
Full news release