About 87 percent of U.S. adults support conscience protections for health care providers, a new poll reports. A majority also oppose the revocation being considered by the Obama administration of a new regulation designed to secure conscience protections for pro-life medical professionals.
The poll, conducted by the polling company, inc./WomanTrend on behalf of the Christian Medical Association, showed majority support for new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulation currently under review by the Obama administration.
About 62 percent of respondents said they opposed revoking the rule, while only 30 percent supported its revocation. Even a majority of self-described “pro-choice” respondents opposed the possible revocation.
The poll surveyed 800 American adults and claims a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.
Dr. David Stevens, M.D., CEO of the Christian Medical Association, discussed the HHS rule at an April 8 press conference announcing the poll results.
“There is a well-funded and increasingly successful effort to discriminate against healthcare professionals based on their deeply held religious and moral beliefs,” he said. “In some states, pharmacists must dispense certain medications or lose their licenses. Students are denied admission to medical schools or residency programs because they are not in favor of abortion. Doctors and nurses are losing their jobs or a promotion because of their beliefs.”
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) has stated that it is unethical for doctors to refuse to refer for abortions, he reported.
“Right of conscience is under attack and that is dangerous for our country, our healthcare system and every patient,” he continued. “Do we want our professional schools to ethically neuter doctors of all moral convictions not approved by the government?”
The rules, he said, “educate the country on this issue. They provide a place to report discrimination. They require employers and educators to take 30 minutes to certify they have non-discrimination policies in place. What is so earth shaking about that?”
He accused the Obama administration and its allies of “raising a smokescreen” with claims that the rules are too burdensome.
Dr. John Bruchalski, an OB/GYN at the pro-life medical practice in Fairfax, Virginia called the Tepeyac Family Center, also defended conscience protections in his statement at the April 8 press conference.
He recounted how his practice helped save a woman’s baby, Joey, whom other doctors wanted to abort after his mother’s amniotic fluid drained.
His mother “went from one doctor to another looking for someone who wouldn’t perform an immediate induced abortion. She was looking for someone who wanted to help her baby live. She found us – 35 miles from her home,” the doctor said.
“We nurtured her, ignoring calls from others to perform an induced abortion. The result is that Joey was born alive… Joey is alive today because our doctors were able to follow our consciences.”
“If conscience is compromised, freedom becomes a farce, a façade,” Dr. Bruchalski remarked.
Deirdre McQuade, spokeswoman on abortion at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), welcomed the poll results and urged HHS to keep the current regulation in place.
“The Obama administration has moved to rescind a vital HHS regulation protecting the conscience rights of health care providers," she said in a press release. "But according to this new survey, the majority of Americans—whether 'pro-life' or 'pro-choice', male or female, Republican or Democratic—support the regulation and oppose its rescission.”
The USCCB has created a web page advocating for the “strongest” protection of conscience rights at www.usccb.org/conscienceprotection.
More information on the poll is available at http://www.freedom2care.org/