Media, Abortion Advocates Misrepresenting Bush Policy to Protect Medical Staff

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 16, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Media, Abortion Advocates Misrepresenting Bush Policy to Protect Medical Staff

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 16
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — To read it in mainstream media reports or hear it from abortion advocacy groups, the Bush administration is almost ready to put into place a draconian policy that would hurt women and prevent access to birth control. But one top pro-life medical official says that’s not at all what the new Bush policy would do.

The policy merely enforces existing laws that preventing forcing either medical centers or staff to do abortions.

It enhances the laws by making state and local governments and medical centers say they will follow them and threaten to revoke federal funding if they don’t.

Jonathan Imbody, the vice president of government relations for the Christian Medical Association, explains the policy and debate further in an editorial appearing in today’s Washington Times.

He calls the new policy "modest" and says the "regulation that would ensure freedom of conscience in health care."

"The regulation would finally implement over 35 years of federal civil rights law aimed at protecting health care professionals from abortion-related coercion," he said.

"Abortion advocates have been lobbying vociferously to cast abortion as standard medical care and to mandate abortion participation by all health care professionals," he says.

That’s because only a "tiny fraction" of medical centers and staff want to be involved in abortions.

Imbody worries that the "HHS regulation, expected to be finalized before December 20, could be overturned by a pro-abortion Congress and president, either through new legislation or a new regulation."

If Obama and his pro-abortion friends in Congress overturn the new rules, Imbody says it will create an irony where so-called "pro-choice" forces force doctors and other medical professionals to be involved in abortions.

That, he says, could have grave consequences for health care.

"Most Americans easily recognize the hypocrisy of forcing ‘pro-choice’ ideology on all health care professionals," he said.

"By driving out pro-life obstetricians and gynecologists who refuse to participate in abortions, abortion mandates would ironically decrease women’s access to some of the most conscientious and compassionate physicians in America," he writes. "Abortion mandates threaten to shut down thousands of life-affirming, faith-based hospitals and clinics that provide care in some of the nation’s most underserved communities."

Imbody also blames the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) for creating the need for the Bush rules by working in tandem with pro-abortion groups to put pressure on doctors to do abortions or refer for them.

"Conscientious physicians and other health care professionals are being pressured, under threat of job loss, to violate medical ethics standards by performing abortions and referring patients to abortion clinics to do the deed," Imbody writes.

"By ripping conscience from its foundation of objective standards and demoting it to the level of subjective feelings, ACOG paints abortion objections as a clash between a physician’s feelings and a patient’s autonomy," he adds.

ACOG is going further, Imbody writes, by putting forward plans to revoke board certification for physicians who are not involved in the abortion process.

"Given the official link between ACOG ethics positions and physician board certification, obstetricians who refuse to follow ACOG’s abortion mandate now presumably stand to lose their hospital privileges and their livelihood," he says.

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