Letter and Petition to President Obama
There are good reasons to favour conscience.
15 September, 2009
Reproduced with permission
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama,
On behalf of the over 50 conscience-supportive organizations
represented by the Freedom2Care coalition (www.Freedom2Care.org),
this letter alerts you to the fact that over 10,000 healthcare professionals
and other individuals have signed a petition urging you and Congress to
protect conscience rights and stop abortion mandates. The text of the
petition for healthcare professionals follows:
My Message as a Healthcare Professional
- As a healthcare professional, I cherish the freedom to
care for patients by adhering to ethical standards of care.
- I do not want the
government to interfere with or restrict my freedom to practice medicine
without violating the ethical standards I have learned and to which I am
- I want to remain free to conscientiously care for patients
according to timetested, patient-protecting ethical standards that
include, but are not limited to, the Hippocratic Oath, moral and religious
principles, the Nuremberg Code and other longstanding principles of medical
- I oppose taxpayer-funded abortions, mandating participation in abortion and any
unlawful discrimination and intolerant coercion that could force healthcare
professionals like myself, or hospitals and clinics, to choose between
violating ethical commitments or leaving the practice of medicine.
- I support laws, regulations and policies
that protect and preserve the freedom of healthcare professionals to care
for patients without being forced to participate in ethically
- The federal civil rights regulation noted below is
an important tool to clarify and illuminate our civil rights protections,
and should be preserved in its entirety.
Therefore, I urge the President, officers of his
administration and Members of Congress to protect my freedom to care for
patients under the ethical principles to which I am committed--by preserving
existing federal civil rights laws and the existing Health and Human
Services regulation (published 12/19/2008) that implements those laws, and
by specifically excluding abortion in healthcare reform legislation.
You and your advisors will also be interested to know the
results of a public poll of the American public and a national survey of
faith-based healthcare professionals (full summary available at
The public poll revealed very strong public support (87%)
for conscience rights and two-to-one margins specifically supporting the
conscience protection regulation and opposing your planned rescission of
that regulation. Nearly 50,000 individuals used the Freedom2Care web site to
send personal comments opposing the rescission.
The national survey of faith-based healthcare professionals
- 95% of faith-based physicians agreed, "I would rather stop
practicing medicine altogether than be forced to violate my conscience."
- 32% of faith-based healthcare professionals report having
"been pressured to refer a patient for a procedure to which [they] had
moral, ethical, or religious objections."
- 20% of medical students say they are "not pursuing a
career in Obstetrics or Gynecology" because of perceived discrimination and
coercion in that field.
This survey demonstrates the problem of discrimination in
health care and that protecting conscience rights through both law and
regulation is key to protecting patients' access to health care now and in
We respectfully urge your careful consideration of these
Sincerely on behalf of the Freedom2Care
David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics)
CEO, Christian Medical Association
cc: Joshua DuBois, Director of Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood