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Physicians call on The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to Stop Attacking Conscience Rights

Contact: Margie Shealy, VP for Communications, 423-844-1047, 888-230-2637

MEDIA ADVISORY, December 11 /Christian Newswire/ -- The nation's largest faith-based association of physicians, the 15,000-member Christian Medical Association (www.cmda.org), today joined other leading national organizations in challenging The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) to stop its attack on the conscience rights of pro-life physicians.

A letter, drafted by CMA and signed by other national organizations, blasted ACOG's Committee on Ethics position statement, "The Limits of Conscientious Refusal in Reproductive Medicine." CMA's letter noted that the statement "suggests a profound misunderstanding of the nature and exercise of conscience, an underlying bias against persons of faith and an apparent attempt to disenfranchise physicians who oppose ACOG's political activism on abortion."

CMA CEO David Stevens, MD said, "ACOG is not only out of touch with conscience-driven physicians, but also with our long-standing American tradition to protect the rights of citizens to not participate in conscience-violating actions—especially when those actions would take a human life. That American tradition rests on constitutional principles of religious freedom and speech."

ACOG's position paper targets pro-life physicians, insisting that abortion-objecting physicians refer patients to get abortions and declaring that physicians who will not participate in conscience-violating procedures and prescriptions must actually move close to doctors who will.

Dr. Stevens added, "Many physicians had been realizing that because of their aggressive abortion lobbying, ACOG officials do not represent the values of most physicians and mainstream medicine. This statement goes a step beyond not representing our life-affirming values to actually advocating policies to prevent us from exercising those values. ACOG's attitude seems to be, 'If you don't toe the ACOG line on abortion, the 'morning-after pill,' and the application of reproductive technology, then you shouldn't be practicing obstetrics--and if you do, we're going to do everything in our power to force you to accommodate our abortion agenda."

CMA Executive Vice President Gene Rudd, MD, an obstetrician and gynecologist, noted, "I have withdrawn my ACOG membership of over 25 years. My conscience can no longer support their lack of conscience. ACOG's strategy seeks to marginalize dissenting opinions. I as an obstetrician have a moral obligation not only to act in my patient's best interest, but also in the best interest of the developing baby, and of society as a whole."