by Steven Ertelt
December 14, 2005
San Francisco, CA (LifeNews.com) — Three pro-life medical groups have filed a legal brief with a federal appeals court appealing a decision by a lower court preventing them from joining with the Bush administration to defend a pro-life law protecting medical professionals who don’t want to be involved with abortions.
Congress approved and President Bush signed into law in December 2004 the Weldon amendment. That provision prohibits state and local governments that receive federal funds from discriminating against healthcare providers because they refuse to perform or refer patients for abortions.
California Attorney Bill Lockyer filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn it and the Christian Medical Association, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Fellowship of Christian Physicians Assistants hoped to join the case to defend the law.
However, a lower federal court refused to allow them to participate in the case and attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund and the Christian Legal Society filed a brief today with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to appeal that decision.
"The government shouldn’t force pro-life medical professionals to participate in abortions against their conscience," explained Casey Mattox, litigation counsel with the CLS Center for Law & Religious Freedom.
"Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the state of California wants to do by pursuing this lawsuit," he added.
ADF and CLS filed the motion to intervene in June on behalf of the three groups. They want to be added as defendants in the case to protect their members under the Weldon provision.
"The Weldon Amendment is a critical protection of healthcare professionals’ rights of conscience, and we hope that the 9th Circuit will allow these same medical professionals to defend the statute against California’s challenge," Mattox explained.
Lockyer’s challenge is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division.