Experts for the Alliance Defense Fund and Christian Legal Society are gearing up to defend three laws that allow medical professionals to follow their conscience and not participate in abortions.

“Medical professionals should not be forced to perform abortions against their conscience,” said Casey Mattox,  litigation counsel with the CLS’s Center for Law & Religious Freedom.

“Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and their pro-abortion allies are seeking to punish pro-life medical professionals for their beliefs,” Mattox said. “Far from arguing for ‘choice,’ these lawsuits seek to compel health-care workers to perform abortions or face dire consequences.”

The public-interest legal groups have filed motions to intervene in three separate lawsuits that seek to invalidate a federal law protecting medical professionals from discrimination because they refuse to participate in abortions.

Three pro-life medical associations are seeking to defend the law against challenges by some state officials, Planned Parenthood, and the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The actions came as the 2009 March for Life was taking place in Washington, when several hundred thousand people gathered to seek protections for the unborn, including the overturning of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Roe vs. Wade that struck down abortion limits in states.

“For over three decades, federal law has prohibited recipients of federal grants from forcing medical professionals to participate in abortions,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “The arguments in the lawsuits themselves demonstrate lack of compliance with these laws and the necessity of the regulation they are challenging.”

Attorney Andrew Knott is assisting as local counsel in the latest dispute in Connecticut.

The Christian Medical Association, Catholic Medical Association, and American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, represented by CLS and ADF attorneys, are asking to be allowed to defend the law, 45 CFR Part 88, enacted in December by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Noting a pattern of grant recipients unaware of or flouting existing laws protecting medical professionals’ rights of conscience, HHS enacted the new law to require grantees to certify compliance in order to receive funds. The three long-standing statutes are the Church Amendment, the Coats-Snowe Amendment and the Weldon Amendment.

The three pro-life medical groups point out that denying rights of conscience could harm access to health care for all by forcing medical professionals who refuse to perform abortions to either relocate from jurisdictions that force them to do so or leave the profession altogether.

Today President Obama, who as a state lawmaker in Illinois objected to requiring doctors to provide medical care for infants who survive abortions, affirmed his support for virtually unlimited abortion on demand.

Obama was issued a challenge by March for Life officials, who had invited him to address their annual march and rally.

The organization challenged Obama to “watch the evil deed of a surgical abortion to know what it looks like to pull off the head, arms and legs of a preborn human.”

The organization noted, “There is a commercial killing site within a few blocks of the White House.”


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