South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster Signs Bill to Protect Doctors, Nurses From Having to Do Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 17, 2022   |   1:27PM   |   Columbia, South Carolina

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has signed a pro-life bill to protect doctors and nurses from being forced to participate in abortions.

The legislation protects doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals and organizations from being forced to participate in procedures, such as abortion, that violate their conscience. It enjoyed the support of pro-life groups like Alliance Defending Freedom.

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Matt Sharp applauded McMaster for signing the bill: “Americans shouldn’t be forced to violate their consciences, and doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are no exception. Patients are best served by medical practitioners who are free to act consistent with their oath to ‘do no harm.'”

“The MED Act ensures that medical professionals are not compelled to breach this oath by being required to participate in specific procedures or treatments that violate their ethical, moral, or religious beliefs,” Sharp said.

Sharp told LifeNews that doctors and nurses need additional legal protections as Democrats and the Biden admin are trying to force them to perform or promote abortions.

“As the Biden administration continues to attack medical conscience rights at the federal level, we commend Gov. McMaster and the South Carolina Legislature for standing with medical professionals and the patients they serve by enacting the MED Act. Thanks to their leadership, South Carolina’s healthcare heroes are free to care for all patients in a compassionate, ethical manner,” he said.

Last year, the Biden administration dropped a lawsuit against a hospital accused of tricking a pro-life nurse into aborting an unborn baby. That decision was only a foreshadowing of things to come.

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Earlier this year, Christian medical leaders raised alarm a potential new pro-abortion mandate from the Biden administration that could shut down Christian health care throughout the U.S.

Then in April, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services officials confirmed to Politico that they plan to revoke a Trump administration rule that protected pro-life medical workers from being forced to kill unborn babies in elective abortions. It is believed that that change has taken effect.

Responding to the news, pro-life leaders criticized the Biden administration for wanting to force hardworking Americans to choose between exercising their beliefs and being able to feed their families.

“Doctors, nurses, and other medical providers should enjoy this same constitutional protection, free to live and work in a manner consistent with their faith,” Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Matt Bowman said in a statement. “Yet the Biden administration’s proposed rule would abandon health care professionals to being forced to perform medical procedures that directly violate their religious beliefs or risk losing their jobs.”

The rule that HHS wants to remove protected doctors, nurses and other health care workers from being forced to provide abortions and other medical procedures that violate their religious and ethical beliefs. Issued by the Trump administration, the rule added weight to conscience protection laws by allowing the federal government to revoke taxpayer funding from hospitals, universities and other healthcare providers that violate their employees’ conscience rights. However, abortion groups and Democrat leaders sued the Trump administration, and a federal judge blocked the rule.

Jacqueline Ayers, the senior vice president of policy, organizing and campaigns for Planned Parenthood, told Politico that they are excited about the new Biden administration rule. Twisting the issue, she slammed conscience protections as “discriminatory.”

“As state politicians continue to strip people of their sexual and reproductive rights and freedoms, it’s imperative that the Biden-Harris administration revoke this discriminatory policy and help ensure people can access the health care and information they need when they need it,” Ayers said. “We look forward to seeing the details of the new rule and are excited about this step forward.”

Forcing doctors and nurses to abort unborn babies or lose their jobs is the real discrimination, and pro-life advocates are urging the president to withdraw his plan.

“This is an illegal and gross overreach of executive power, and we urge the administration to withdraw this harmful proposal immediately,” Bowman said.

Meanwhile, Christian medical leaders are preparing for more attacks on conscience rights in the future. This year, five major Catholic organizations established the Catholic Health Care Leadership Alliance to defend religious freedom and Catholic health care in the U.S.

As Wesley J. Smith, a lawyer, award-winning author and a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism, wrote at First Things earlier this year:

The threats against religious freedom in the United States have become so acute that five major Catholic organizations have formed the Catholic Health Care Leadership Alliance (CHCLA), a nonprofit coalition dedicated to defending the right of Catholic hospitals, nursing homes, and other institutions—as well as Catholic doctors, nurses, and pharmacists—to provide care and treatment in accordance with the moral precepts of the Catholic Church. The primary mission of the CHCLA will be to act as a clearinghouse for threats to Catholic healthcare and coordinate an effective response through political and democratic engagement. The CHCLA will also work to evangelize, educate, and provide mutual support for patients and professionals.

Pro-life leaders feared President Joe Biden would work to dismantle religious freedom for pro-life medical workers after his administration dropped a lawsuit last year defending a pro-life nurse who allegedly was forced into aborting an unborn baby. The Vermont nurse said she was tricked into helping with an elective abortion even though the doctors knew her objections; she said they told her she would be helping with a miscarriage.