.- An association of Christian doctors has harshly criticized a national organization of obstetricians for supporting ethical codes that will force pro-life physicians to violate their consciences by referring patients to other doctors for abortions.
Leaders of the Christian Medical Association(CMA), representing 15,000 members, challenged a statement made by an ethics committee of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists(ACOG) that examined physiciansâ rights of conscience.
The ACOG Committee of Ethicsâ position paper, titled "The Limits of Conscientious Refusal in Reproductive Medicine," targets pro-life physicians. It insists that doctors who object to abortion must refer a patient to a physician who will perform abortions. The statement also says doctors with conscientious objections to providing other procedures and prescriptions should move closer to doctors who do not have such objections.
The Christian Medical Association in protest drafted a letter that was signed by other national organizations.
CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens declared his opposition to ACOGâs position, calling it âout of touch with conscience-driven physiciansâ and also out of touch with traditional American respect for rights of conscience and religious freedom.
Dr. Stevens added, "Many physicians had been realizing that because of their aggressive abortion lobbying, ACOG officials do not represent the values of most physicians and mainstream medicine. This statement goes a step beyond not representing our life-affirming values to actually advocating policies to prevent us from exercising those values. ACOG's attitude seems to be, 'If you don't toe the ACOG line on abortion, the 'morning-after pill,' and the application of reproductive technology, then you shouldn't be practicing obstetrics--and if you do, we're going to do everything in our power to force you to accommodate our abortion agenda."
CMA Executive Vice President Gene Rudd, MD, himself an obstetrician and gynecologist, said he has ended his 25-year membership in ACOG over the new policy.
Explaining his decision, he said, âMy conscience can no longer support their lack of conscience. ACOG's strategy seeks to marginalize dissenting opinions. I as an obstetrician have a moral obligation not only to act in my patient's best interest, but also in the best interest of the developing baby, and of society as a whole.â