1. Tell Your Story
Health professionals and students: Fill out this brief survey to recount discrimination you've experienced in healthcare because of faith and/or conscience.
Only the information you choose will be used to illustrate the need and advocate for conscience protections.
2. Get Legal Help
Learn about your options for legal help:
- Nonprofit legal groups
- HHS Conscience and Religious Freedom Division
Medical school interviewer: "People of your faith don’t make good doctors"
Justin Rowberry, MD, Reno, NV: While interviewing for medical school at my small, state-run university, I was specifically asked about my religion, and then told by the interviewer (a senior faculty member) that “people of your faith don’t make good doctors because you spend too much time with your families”. He then strongly discouraged me from practicing medicine. Unfortunately, at the time I didn’t realize how discriminatory his statements and actions were, of what to do about it. All that I could think to do was contact the front desk of the school and ask for another interview because I felt that my interviewer was highly biased against me. The medical school did not respond to my request. I was accepted to several other schools, though none had the low-tuition advantage of my state school. I wish that I had known who to contact and what to do at the time; both for my sake and for the sake of the future applicants.
Gender identity contract issue leads to dismissal
Name withheld: As the program director of a transitional year residency program, I was asked to sign a preceptor contract for my clinic that included language protecting special interest groups protection that is not afforded under national law (i.e. gender identity, political persuasion, etc.). It was politically correct language and completely unnecessary for the professional responsibility. This was applying to our private practice working in a privately owned clinic.
I crossed out all of the language that was not applicable to federal law, signed the contract and sent it back. Several months went by and several residents had rotated with my without incident. I was then sent a new contract by the DME and told that I needed to sign it as it was written and no amendments would be acceptable. I politely told the administration that I was not comfortable executing the agreement as it was written.
I was subject to some minor ridicule and then was told that if I did not execute it as written, I could no longer work as the program director. I said that was fine, that I was not going to sign something that I was not comfortable. I stated that I was a Christian and shared my faith regularly with my patients and spoke from a Christian world view. This is something that my patients and staff have great appreciation for and I was not going to allow someone else to potentially claim I created a hostile work environment. I was dismissed from my directorship of the program."
Physician told she must refer for abortion
Barbara Holck, DO: "I counseled a recently pregnant woman who was thinking about abortion. I told her the pregnancy was early 6 weeks and she had time to consider all the options. She left, then complained to my boss. I was told I must refer for abortion. I was unhappy and felt my conscience was ignored. I quit that job shortly afterwards."