Pro-Life Medical Groups Seek to Protect Bush Abortion Conscience Clause Rule

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 23, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Medical Groups Seek to Protect Bush Abortion Conscience Clause Rule

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 23
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Three pro-life medical associations have banded together to try to protect the rules the Bush administration put in place to protect doctors and medical centers. The rules provide additional enforcement for existing federal laws that make it so medical staff and facilities can’t be forced to do abortions.

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

Attorneys with the Christian Legal Society and the Alliance Defense Fund filed motions Wednesday to intervene in that and two other lawsuit filed by top pro-abortion groups to overturn the Provider Conscience Clause.

Three pro-life medical associations are seeking to defend the law against challenges by the state officials, Planned Parenthood, and the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, represented by the ACLU.

Casey Mattox, an attorney with the Christian Legal Society, told that the rules are needed so medical professionals have the security of knowing they won’t be pressured to participate in abortions.

“Medical professionals should not be forced to perform abortions against their conscience. Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and their pro-abortion allies are seeking to punish pro-life medical professionals for their beliefs,” Mattox said. “Far from arguing for ‘choice,’ these lawsuits seek to compel health care workers to perform abortions or face dire consequences.”

Matt Bowman, a senior legal counsel with ADF, also weighed in on the case.

“For over three decades, federal law has prohibited recipients of federal grants from forcing medical professionals to participate in abortions," he told "The arguments in the lawsuits themselves demonstrate lack of compliance with these laws and the necessity of the regulation they are challenging."

The Christian Medical Association, Catholic Medical Association, and American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, represented by the two pro-life law firms, are asking to be allowed to defend the law.

Noting a pattern of grant recipients unaware of or flouting existing laws protecting medical professionals’ rights of conscience, HHS enacted the new law to require grantees to certify compliance with them in order to receive funds.

The three long-standing statutes protecting medical staff and centers are the Church Amendment, the Coats-Snowe Amendment, and the Weldon Amendment.

The three pro-life medical groups point out that denying rights of conscience could harm access to healthcare for all by forcing medical professionals who refuse to perform abortions to either relocate from jurisdictions that force them to do so or leave the profession altogether.

CLS and ADF attorneys representing the same medical groups have had a track record of success. They successfully defended the Weldon Amendment in a previous challenge by pro-abortion state officials and groups.

The briefs in support of the motions to intervene in Connecticut v. United States, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association v. Leavitt, and Planned Parenthood of America v. Leavitt filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.

Related web sites:
Alliance Defense Fund –
Christian Legal Society –

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