by Steven Ertelt
March 14, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The national organization for OBGYNs will re-examine a policy on Monday saying all doctors, including those who are pro-life, should refer women to abortion centers. When it does, a leading pro-life group for physicians says it should scrap the idea and encourage doctors to follow their consciences.
As LifeNews.com has reported, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) has been criticized heavily for releasing the statement last year entitled "The Limits of Conscientious Refusal in Reproductive Medicine."
The paper targets pro-life physicians, insisting that doctors who object to doing abortions should refer patients to physicians who will do them.
ACOG also requests that pro-life doctors move their practices closer to abortion businesses so women can have a shorter drive to get an abortion when their physicians refuse to perform or refer for one.
Because of significant protests form members of Congress, physicians and pro-life groups, the ACOG ethics committee is reportedly slated on Monday to revisit its November 2007 declaration.
The ACOG ethics committee should change its course and defend the conscience rights of doctors who refuse to perform or refer for abortions, says Christian Medical Association vice-president Dr. Gene Rudd.
"The right to refuse on moral and ethical grounds to participate in the killing of another human being is … based on long-standing, objective medical ethics and moral principles," Rudd told LifeNews.com.
"Since ACOG represents the vast majority of obstetricians and gynecologists in this country, the organization should be advocating for the decision-making rights of all of its members–not just of those who favor abortions," he added.
Rudd says the decision has a monumental effect on doctors, since ACOG ethical positions are formally linked to physician board certification.
If ACOG refuses to protest conscience rights, Rudd told LifeNews.com the group would "threaten the livelihoods of thousands of pro-life obstetricians and gynecologists."
"ACOG membership stands to drop dramatically once its pro-life members realize that their organization is actually taking steps to undermine their ability to practice," he explained. "The last thing the women of this country need is for yet more obstetricians to leave the field."
Another leading medical group, the American Association of ProLife Obstetricians and Gynecologists, has also called on ACOG to reverse course.
"This is a raw power play to cripple, and ultimately eliminate from practice, those doctors who hold a conscience conviction on the sanctity of human life," AAPLOG spokesman Dr. Joe DeCook told LifeNews.com.
He said ACOG should be honoring those who "refuse to have a part in doing, or referring for, the elective, deliberate taking of an unborn human life" and called the group’s actions "a battering ram, to force pro-life doctors into pro-choice compliance."
Last month, CMA drafted and coordinated a letter signed by leading national pro-life organizations, including LifeNews.com, on ACOG to rescind its November statement.
Members of the U.S. Congress, led by obstetrician Rep. Phil Gingrey have also called upon ACOG to explain its controversial ethical statement.