Conscience | Religious Freedom
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Right of Conscience Issues
Conscience freedoms are foundational in the healthcare process, and it applies to both healthcare professionals and patients alike. Our increasingly amoral society and gradual move away from the commitment to and practice of Hippocratic medicine creates a great need for conscience protections for healthcare professionals—so they will not be forced to choose between their career and their conscience, ethics, and faith.
A federal mandate issued in 2016 required doctors to perform gender transition procedures on any patient, including a child, even if the doctor believed the procedure would be harmful. That rule was struck down in court after it was challenged by nine states, several religious organizations, and an association of over 19,000 healthcare professionals.
Religious healthcare professionals care for all patients and are consistently on the front lines serving the most vulnerable members of our society, including under-served poor and migrant communities; victims of gang violence, sex trafficking, opioid addiction, and deadly epidemics and prisoners living with HIV.
In January 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the formation of a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division in the HHS Office for Civil Rights.
“No one should have to check their faith or moral convictions at the door when they enter their workplace. Unfortunately, many health care workers don’t have the legal protection to decline to participate in abortions. This bill provides doctors, nurses, and other health care workers permanent protection from being discriminated against by employers if they choose to follow their conscience and do not wish to perform, participate in, or provide an abortion. No health care worker should be forced to choose between their jobs and their conscience. It shouldn’t be controversial. Many entered health care to protect life; they should not be forced to take a life to keep their jobs.” ‒ Sen. James Lankford
This bill would change the definition of "sex discrimination" from its historical basis in biology (i.e., male/female) to instead include subjective ideological factors such as gender identity and sexual orientation. The bill would impose legal penalties against anyone who does not share this ideology.
The term ‘gender identity’ means the gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms, or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.
In December 2019, Freedom2Care / Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) announced our intention to appeal a New York federal court's ruling against the 2019 regulation with Becket.