Pregnancy Center Group Wants to Defend Pro-Life Doctors on Abortion

National   Steven Ertelt   Feb 3, 2009   |   9:00AM    WASHINGTON, DC

Pregnancy Center Group Wants to Defend Pro-Life Doctors on Abortion

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 3
, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A national trade group for pregnancy centers has filed a request to join a lawsuit that seeks to defend the rights of medical centers and staff to refuse to participate in an abortion. Care Net hopes to join the lawsuit to defend the protections the Bush administration put in place to enforce current federal laws.

The rules provide additional enforcement for existing federal laws that make it so medical staff and facilities can’t be forced to do abortions.

The Provider Conscience Clause requires written policies affirming adherence to the law and could deny federal funding in cases when the law is abrogated.

The attorneys general of seven states filed a collective lawsuit along with abortion advocates to overturn the protections, making claims that they somehow prevent women’s health care or access to birth control and contraception.

Three pro-life medical associations have banded together to try to protect the rules and Care Net wants to join them in doing so.

Represented by attorneys from Advocates International, Care Net filed a motion Monday to intervene in the three separate lawsuit challenging the rules saying it wants to protect the rights of medical professionals to practice without being forced to perform abortions.

Care Net is defending the interests of more than 470 medical pregnancy centers within its network and the licensed professionals that serve within these centers.

Heartbeat International, Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International, Concerned Women for America, The Fellowship of Christian Physician Assistants, and New Jersey Physicians Resource Council are also joining Care Net in the request to intervene.

Care Net president Melinda Delahoyde told LifeNews.com the lawsuits threaten not only the rights of medical professionals but ultimately the availability of critical services to low-income women.

"Pregnancy centers offer free support to thousands of individuals facing unplanned pregnancies and related issues," she said. "Without RNs, nurse practitioners, and physicians to serve within our non-profit centers, these women will suffer a huge loss."

Ultimately, Delahoyde argues, without pregnancy center services such as limited obstetrical ultrasounds, the number of abortions will increase.

Samuel B. Casey the general counsel for Advocates International, says the pro-abortion groups challenging the rules are doing so not on medical or scientific groups but for political reasons.

"Despite the well-established laws protecting the health care right of conscience, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and their pro-abortion allies are now hoping for the cooperation of the Obama administration as they again seek to punish pro-life medical professionals for their beliefs," he said.

"As we face the most pro-abortion Congress and administration in American history, medical professionals should not be forced to perform abortions against their conscience," he told LifeNews.com. "Our clients are opposing these lawsuits because they wrongfully seek to compel health care workers to perform abortions against their ethical and professional judgment or face dire consequences."

Care Net says the federal law would protect doctors like Sandy Christiansen, MD, an OBGYN who serves as medical director at Care Net Pregnancy Center of Frederick, Maryland.

She has shared her story with mainstream media outlets about facing discrimination because of her beliefs. As an intern, she was denied operating room privileges by her chief resident who explained it was because she was not "working hard doing the abortions" like others and would not earn that "perk."

Later, as a chief resident, she was humiliated by the attending physician in front of her team of residents, interns and students when she would not perform an abortion on a patient whose baby was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome.

"Not once were Dr. Christiansen’s faith-based convictions validated in these experiences or was she informed of her rights according to existing law to protect against this kind of discrimination," Care Net said.

Related web sites:
Care Net – http://www.care-net.org

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