Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lawmakers mull HHS mandate

Excerpted from "Lawsuits Challenging Contraception Rule Get Little Play," Roll Call, May 23, 2012: Republican leaders might be trying to avoid getting re-entangled in the culture wars, but Senate Republican Conference Vice Chairman Roy Blunt said on Tuesday that he is considering intervening in a legal challenge to a proposed federal contraception rule brought by Catholic organizations.

The Missouri Republican — who is presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s liaison to Congress — said he is looking into joining the challenge to the rule, which requires religiously affiliated hospitals and other institutions, excluding churches, to provide employee health insurance that includes access to contraception.

On Monday, May 21, 2012, 43 Catholic, 43 Catholic dioceses and other religious organizations filed challenges to the rule in all 11 circuits of the federal judicial system, claiming the law violates the Constitution’s religious freedom protections.

The lack of leadership engagement on the contraception issue is not entirely surprising, given the difficulties the party has had with Democrats’ recent accusations that the GOP is engaging in a “war on women.”
So far, Democrats don’t seem particularly interested in rehashing the issue either, with Democratic leaders remaining mum. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who in February called GOP opposition to the rule a “vicious political attack” on women, dismissed the most recent lawsuit out of hand. Still, Blunt predicted the fight is far from over. Noting that all of the circuit courts are facing decisions on the rule’s constitutionality, he predicted the matter would quickly make it to the Supreme Court. “This is not an issue that’s going to go away. ... It’s about religious freedom,” Blunt said. “I’m a Protestant. I don’t have any problem with contraception. I have a problem with the government forcing people who do think it’s wrong participating in it in some way.”

Former Florida Rep. Dave Weldon, MD: “Conscience protections are essential for healthcare professionals, whether on abortion, contraception or other directives that the Administration would attempt to mandate under Obamacare. The latest round of lawsuits by the Catholic church challenging the Administration shows the necessity of vigilantly addressing religious discrimination.

“Conscience protections have been on the books for more than 35 years protecting conscience rights for healthcare professionals, especially with regard to abortion. The Church Amendments in the 1970s were passed to protect healthcare professionals with respect to abortion and 'any item or service' they have moral or religious objections to, under certain federally funded programs. In the 1990s, Congress needed to pass an amendment by Senator Dan Coats to prevent government discrimination in federally funded residency programs.

“As I was serving in Congress, we saw such discrimination on the rise, so I authored, and Congress passed in 2004, what became known as the Hyde/Weldon amendment. My amendment protects healthcare professionals from discrimination or coercion regarding abortion in any federally funded health program. Clearly Obamacare usurps those laws by mandating health plans, including religious employer plans, coverage of abortifacients, contraception and sterilization. Congress needs to act to defend conscience rights once again.

“The Administration’s so-called accommodation for religious employers is not an accommodation at all. In fact, it actually attempts to define what a church is in a very narrow and crude manner, by excluding all religious employers but churches. This is an unprecedented federal attack on religious freedom and practice, one that must be repealed.

“The American people should not be told to check their religion and leave it behind the church house doors. Most Americans believe the federal government should not discriminate against those who object to abortion on grounds of conscience. If Congress fails to act, it will have turned its back on the very essence of our founding—religious freedom.”

CMDA Right of Conscience Resource Pages

Anti-discrimination measures add protections

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has developed a policy document in response to protests by CMA and other faith-based groups that federal AIDS grants requirements were disqualifying faith-based groups on the basis of conscience objections, despite anti-discrimination provisions in federal law. The President's Emergency Program For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) legislation (the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008) provides for conscience protections.

Catholic groups were being particularly penalized by requirements related to contraceptives, even though Catholic ministries provide other valuable and extensive services to AIDS patients around the world and offer the type of trusted network that is critical for patient education and behavior change.

As a result of meetings with faith-based organization representatives and administration officials, the following Acquisition & Assistance Policy Directive (AAPD), including a Conscience Clause Implementation, was developed at USAID to comply with the law. Here's a summary from the document of what it includes:
A. Provides contract clauses and assistance provisions to be included in contracts, grants and cooperative agreements that obligate or intend to obligate (in the case of solicitations) FY04-FY13 funds made available for HIV/AIDS activities, regardless of the program account, including:
  1. Conscience Clause Implementation (previously titled ―Organizations Eligible for Assistance);
  2. Condoms; and
  3. Prohibitions on Promotion or Advocacy of the Legalization or Practice of Prostitution or Sex Trafficking.
B. Replaces all previous versions of the contract clause and assistance provision titled ―Organizations Eligible for Assistance with the revised versions in Attachments A through C, titled ―Conscience Clause Implementation‖;

C. Provides guidance to Contracting Officers (COs) and Agreement Officers (AOs) regarding what actions to take if an organization raises a Conscience Clause objection.

CMA VP for Govt. Relations Jonathan Imbody "Some months ago, I joined a few faith-based organization representatives to meet with President Obama's AIDS ambassador, Dr. Eric Goosby, who heads up the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator and the President's Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), originally an initiative of the Bush administration. The meeting was both friendly and candid. I raised the issue of discrimination on the basis of faith and conscience, and my colleagues in the meeting corroborated the concern. As a result of that meeting and others, administration officials developed the above policy to address problems.

"Meanwhile, other faith-based groups, along with sympathetic lawmakers, also worked hard behind the scenes in Washington to make sure the administration doesn't base grants for international aid on its political agenda, notably related to LGBT issues. President Obama recently issued a Presidential Memorandum directing that U.S. 'agencies engaged abroad should strengthen the work they have begun and initiate additional efforts in these multilateral fora and organizations to: counter discrimination on the basis of LGBT status; broaden the number of countries willing to support and defend LGBT issues in the multilateral arena; strengthen the role of civil society advocates on behalf of LGBT issues within and through multilateral fora; and strengthen the policies and programming of multilateral institutions on LGBT issues.'

"Earlier this month, staff of Representative Kay Granger, Chairwoman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, and Ranking Member Representative Nita Lowey were able to come to agreement on the following language to be added to pending legislation (Manager's Amendment):
"Faith-Based organizations. - - The Committee notes the important role that faith-based organizations (FBOs) play in the delivery of foreign assistance and expects USAID to ensure compliance with existing Federal laws protecting the rights of FBOs, including rights related to employment practices, from discrimination in competing for and administering projects funded with United States foreign assistance.
"Much credit for the LGBT-related conscience protection effort goes to the staff of Representative Trent Franks, notably Stephanie Hammond."

Read the full USAID document
Read a Catholic News Service story

House votes on sex-selection abortions

Excerpted from "U.S. House to vote on curbing 'war on baby girls' National Right to Life news release, May 25, 2012: The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the nation’s largest pro-life organization, is calling on members of the U.S. House of Representatives to go on record against “the escalating war on baby girls,” by voting to pass a national ban on sex-selection abortions when the bill reaches the House floor on
Thursday, May 31.

The legislation is a recently revised version of the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) (H.R. 3541), sponsored by Congressman Trent Franks (R-Az.). The House will consider the bill on the “Suspension Calendar,” which means that a two-thirds vote will be required for passage.

In a letter being sent to House members, NRLC quotes the recent observation of political economist Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute: “In terms of its sheer toll in human numbers, sex-selective abortion has assumed a scale tantamount to a global war against baby girls.” NRLC also cites studies that indicate the practice is also becoming increasingly prevalent in the U.S., particularly within communities of immigrants from Asia.

The bill would make it an offense, punishable by up to five years imprisonment, to knowingly do any one of the following four things: (1) perform an abortion “knowing that such abortion is sought based on the sex or gender of the child”; (2) use “force or threat of force. . . for the purpose of coercing a sex-selection abortion”; (3) solicit or accept funds to perform a sex-selection abortion; or (4) transport a woman into the U.S. or across state lines for this purpose. However, “A woman upon whom a sex-selection abortion is performed may not be prosecuted or held civilly liable for any violation ....”

NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson commented, “Those lawmakers who recently have embraced contrived political rhetoric asserting that they are resisting a ‘war on women’ must reflect on whether they now wish to be recorded as being defenders of the escalating war on baby girls.”

Rep. Trent Franks (AZ-02): "Sex selection abortion has now left the human family on earth with 200 million missing baby girls. It has been a primary enforcement mechanism for China's forced abortion and 'one child' policy for many years, it has dramatically increased sex trafficking and violence against women due to the imbalanced sex ratios left in its wake across the world, and we know now that it is a tragic circumstance into which many women are being coerced.

"Sex selection abortion is extreme violence against both unborn baby girls and their mothers. This evil practice has now allowed thousands of little girls in America, and millions of little girls across the world, to be brutally dismembered, most of them in the second or third trimesters, when they are capable of feeling extreme pain, simply because they were little girls instead of instead of little boys. Sex selection abortion is true 'Violence Against Women.' And it is the truest kind of 'War on Women.' And it has now brought humanity to a place where the three deadliest words on this earth are… 'It's a girl.'

"A number of academic papers have now published evidence that the practice of sex-selection abortion is demonstrably increasing here in the United States. In 2007, the United States spearheaded a U.N. resolution to condemn sex-selection abortion worldwide, yet, here in the land of the free and the home of the brave, we are the only advanced country left in the world that still doesn't restrict sex-selection abortion in any way.

"I know this Congress deals with many controversial issues where it is sometimes difficult for Republicans and Democrats to find common ground, but I refuse to believe that we cannot find enough common humanity in the United States Congress to conclude together that it is wrong to knowingly kill unborn children because they are because they are baby girls instead of baby boys."
CMDA Ethics Statement: Abortion

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vanderbilt University's all-comers policy discouraging

Excerpt from "Vanderbilt University's All-Comers Policy 'Discouraging,' But Unites Christian Students," Christian Post, by Katherine Weber. May 17, 2012--While some consider Vanderbilt University's new all-comers policy to be an assault on religious freedom, one lawyer for the American Center for Law and Justice argues that the university's Christian students have become more unified as a result of increased campus hostility. In early 2012, the private university, located in Nashville, Tenn., implemented an all-comers policy for its student-run organizations. The policy prohibits campus groups from selecting members and leaders based on race, gender, sexual orientation or religion.

Vanderbilt University's new policy excludes members of Greek life, still allowing them to be selective in their membership and leadership processes. "Vanderbilt became increasingly aggressive [and] hostile towards Christian groups on campus, and really made it very clear that they were going out of their way, despite public denial to the contrary, they were going out of their way to single out Christian expression and to target Christian clubs for expulsion from campus effectively," David French, senior council of the ACLJ said. Christian students on campus rallied against this new policy, arguing that it holds a double standard for the university's Greek life and also infringes upon students' religious freedom.

Christians argued that the new policy violated the central tenets of their faith, as being able to elect faith-filled leaders is integral to the survival of a religious group. Eleven Christian groups protesting the policy formed the group Vanderbilt Solidarity. To promote their cause, they created a seven-minute video that was shared with faculty and students, as well as issued statements and attended town hall meetings. Several campus organizations that chose to keep religious requirements in their individual charters were not given university recognition, and therefore will not enjoy the perks of using the university name, campus locations or university sponsorship in the upcoming school year. Full story can be found here.

J. Scott RiesNational Director for CMDA's Campus & Community Ministries, J. Scott Ries, MD: "Supreme Court Justice Alito had it right. Following the high court’s surprising and controversial 5:4 ruling in CLS v. Martinez (aka 'Hastings case'), he predicted the ruling would arm 'educational institutions with a handy weapon for suppressing the speech of unpopular groups.' In less than two years, Vanderbilt University fulfilled this prediction, issuing an edict that student groups on campus may not restrict their leadership to those who actually share the beliefs upon which that group was founded.

"Other schools are observing these outcomes closely. Two CMDA campus chapters in just the last few months have been challenged in regard to their ability to meet on campus as officially recognized student groups. More challenges are likely to come. Some states, like Ohio, recognize the untenability of such a position with the constitutionally protected freedom of religion enjoyed in our country for more than two centuries. To ensure these protections, the state of Ohio revised its laws to state:
'No state institution of higher education shall take any action or enforce any policy that would deny a religious student group any benefit available to any other student group based on the religious student group's requirement that its leaders or members adhere to its sincerely held religious beliefs or standards of conduct.' (Ohio Revised Code Section 3345.023)
"To be sure, participation in any of our CMDA chapters or activities is open to anyone. We welcome not only those who share our faith, but also those who question it. Membership, however, in CMDA is defined by the bylaws of our organization as governed by our Board of Trustees. Provision for a separate membership at a local level is not provided within our organization. Anyone may participate, but if one desires to join CMDA as an official member, that person is required by our formative documents to sign a Statement of Faith. Leadership then must be held to a higher standard, consistent with biblical standards of leadership, including being a member of CMDA and agreeing to abide by the CMDA Code of Conduct.

"CMDA will continue to be a voice for our chapters’ religious freedoms on campuses across our country. However, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they approached the government of their day confident of God’s deliverance, we also say, '…but even if He does not…,' we will continue to serve Him. With God’s continued blessing and favor, the transforming ministry of CMDA in the lives of the next generation of healthcare providers in our country will continue…regardless of the location of its gatherings. The courageous persistence shown by a number of evangelical campus ministries (formerly) located on the campus of Vanderbilt are already showing this to be the case, and they are to be commended for their integrity."

FedEx Worker Settles Religious Discrimination Lawsuit

Excerpt from "FedEx Worker Settles Religious Discrimination Lawsuit, Citizen Link, by Steve Fountain. May 16, 2012--Federal Express settled a lawsuit this week with a former employee who claimed the delivery service failed to accommodate his religious beliefs.

The settlement, which is confidential, was reached after U.S. District Court Judge Edmund E. Chang denied FedEx’s bid to rule in its favor without further court proceedings. “FedEx supervisors tied Weathers’ hands (more precisely, his tongue) on a topic of great importance to him, and did not bother to respond to his request for an accommodation,” Chang wrote. In addition to being told by supervisors he couldn’t answer coworkers’ questions about the Bible, Eric Weathers — who has a degree in youth ministry from a Christian school and is pursuing a divinity degree — was told he would have to lie about that if people asked him directly. According to the lawsuit, Weathers’s supervisors also refused to tell him why his speech was banned.

When he sought clarification from human resources, he received an e-mail stating religious and political discussions are “forbidden in the workplace,” and that his specific speech was an “act detrimental to the company” — a designation reserved for sexual harassment, illegal drugs, theft and other such actions. “You can’t make somebody check their faith at the door just because you’re a big corporation,” said Jason Craddock, an attorney allied with the Alliance Defense Fund, who represented Weathers. Weathers never received a company response to his formal request to exercise his free speech under federal law protections. Though Weathers received good performance reviews, he was demoted. He later quit and sued the company. Full story can be found here.

Robert RoganCMDA Member Robert Rogan, MD, JD: "Religious liberty is undergoing numerous changes in our modern society, a far cry from the age of having prayers in schools and state constitutions requiring one to be a believer to hold public office. Now we must walk a fine line in our interactions in our work and public arenas. The FedEx case recently settled exemplifies the potential muzzling of a witnessing believer of our Master and Savior.

"The believer here followed appropriate steps to ascertain his witnessing limitations or boundaries. He was not willing to lie about his education if asked by coworkers, however. The judge appears to have carefully weighed the legal issues and arrived at a reasonable decision, unlike other recent cases where judges make law instead of interpreting the law.

"As believers in today's intolerant yet tolerance-demanding society, we have our work cut out for us. We face increasingly unreasonable restrictions and consequences for sharing our faith. Sadly, as one reads the prophetic scriptures, this will get worse until the return of the One we share about. While we are still protected by law, we should continue to share our faith and hope.

"Although for the present, we may need to go 'by the book' in sharing about the Writer of the Book and maintain appropriate respect to worldly authorities. As the New Testament shows, knowing what authority is legitimate and its proper boundaries will be our struggle. If we remain silent at the wrong times, the rocks may even cry out."
Healthcare Right of Conscience Discrimination Stories

Catholic Dioceses sue the administration

Excerpt from "Cardinal Dolan of NY, Cardinal Wuerl of D.C., Notre Dame--And 40 Other Catholic Dioceses and Organizations--Sue Obama Administration," CNS News,by Terence P. Jeffrey. May 21, 2012--The Archdiocese of New York, headed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., headed by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the University of Notre Dame, and 40 other Catholic dioceses and organizations around the country announced on Monday that they are suing the Obama administration for violating their freedom of religion, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution. The dioceses and organizations, in different combinations, are filing 12 different lawsuits filed in federal courts around the country.

"This lawsuit is about an unprecedented attack by the federal government on one of America’s most cherished freedoms: the freedom to practice one’s religion without government interference," the archdiocese says on the website "It is not about whether people have access to certain services; it is about whether the government may force religious institutions and individuals to facilitate and fund services which violate their religious beliefs." The suits filed by the Catholic organizations focus on the regulation that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced last August and finalized in January that requires virtually all healthcare plans in the United States to cover sterilizations and all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives, including those that can cause abortions.

“We have tried negotiation with the Administration and legislation with the Congress--and we’ll keep at it--but there's still no fix," Cardinal Dolan, who is also president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a statement released by the conference this morning. "Time is running out, and our valuable ministries and fundamental rights hang in the balance, so we have to resort to the courts now," the cardinal said. "Though the Conference is not a party to the lawsuits, we applaud this courageous action by so many individual dioceses, charities, hospitals and schools across the nation, in coordination with the law firm of Jones Day. It is also a compelling display of the unity of the Church in defense of religious liberty. It's also a great show of the diversity of the Church's ministries that serve the common good and that are jeopardized by the mandate--ministries to the poor, the sick, and the uneducated, to people of any faith or no faith at all.”
"The lawsuit in no way challenges either women’s established legal right to obtain and use contraception or the right of employers to provide coverage for it if they so choose," said Cardinal Wuerl. "This lawsuit is about religious freedom." "The First Amendment enshrines in our nation’s Constitution the principle that religious organizations must be able to practice their faith free from government interference," Cardinal Wuerl said. Full story can be found here.

David StevensCMDA CEO David Stevens, MD, MA, (Ethics): "Cardinal Dolan is the President of the U.S. Council of Bishops in Washington, D.C., and the council serves as the public policy voice for the Catholic Church. We often stand alongside each other on bioethical and religious freedom issues, and we even coordinate our efforts at times.

"Religious freedom and right of conscience are the most important issues that all people of faith face. This is a battle we dare not lose. As one of our founding fathers so aptly said, 'We will hang together or we will hang separately.'

"That is why I traveled to New York City last week and met with Cardinal Dolan at his invitation in St. Patrick's Cathedral after he completed mass. He wanted to know more about CMDA and we discussed how we could work more closely together. I found him congenial, articulate, bold and decisive. A few minutes into our conversation, he asked if I could join him that afternoon on his radio program that is broadcast on Sirius Radio across the U.S.

"As his comments on Bill O'Reilly's show reveal, he has a clear and comprehensive understanding of the significance of the issue of religious freedom. During our on-air discussions during his radio show, I made the point that the contraceptive mandate is not a women's issue nor a Catholic issue as the secular media likes to portray. It affects all people no matter what their faith is, and it is an attack on our first and most precious right.

"George Washington articulated its importance well in a letter he wrote to the United Baptist Churches in Virginia on May 10, 1789, 'If I could have entertained the slightest apprehension that the constitution framed in the convention, where I had the honor to preside, might possibly endanger the religious rights of any ecclesiastical society, certainly I would never have placed my signature to it.... if I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.'
"After the interview, I told the Cardinal I was meeting that evening with John Brehany, PhD, an ethicist who leads the Catholic Medical Association in Philadelphia. He asked me if CMDA could advise their organization to help them grow and develop from their present membership of 1,700. John and I had a great time together and he will be coming to Bristol to spend a day at CMDA so we can learn from each other.

With the challenges medicine faces in cost containment, access, professionalism, bioethics and right of conscience, I’m convinced we must strengthen our bonds with other like-minded organizations and coordinate our efforts to reach the outcomes we all desire."

CMDA Ethics Statement: Healthcare Right of Conscience
Healthcare Right of Conscience Resource Page

Thursday, May 10, 2012

California may ban gay teen 'conversion' therapy

Excerpt from "California may ban gay teen 'conversion' therapy ," Associated Press, by Hannah Dreier. March 6, 2012--A first-of-its-kind ban on a controversial form of psychotherapy aimed at making gay people straight is speeding through the California statehouse. Supporters say the legislation, which passed its final Senate committee Tuesday, is necessary because such treatments are ineffective and harmful. "This therapy can be dangerous," said the bill's author Sen. Ted Lieu. The Torrance Democrat added the treatments can "cause extreme depression and guilt" that sometimes leads to suicide. Conservative religious groups emphatically reject that view of sexual orientation therapy and say the ban would interfere with parents' rights to seek appropriate psychological care for their children. The bill would prohibit so-called reparative therapy for minors and obligate adults to sign a release form that states that the counseling is ineffectual and possibly dangerous.

Conversion therapy penetrated the national consciousness last year when former Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann was questioned over whether her husband's Christian counseling business provided services that attempted to change gays and lesbians. Interest in the religion-based therapy appears to have surged in recent years, sparking debates about whether sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic.

The American Psychological Association said in 2009 that mental health professionals shouldn't tell gay clients they can become straight through therapy. The American Counseling Association and American Psychiatric Association have also disavowed the therapy. The psychiatric association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders nearly 30 years ago. The practice has garnered attention in past years as teens sent by their parents to conversion therapy programs have shared their stories online. Full story can be found here.

CMDA Member and board-certified family physician Andre' Van Mol, MD: "Senator Ted Lieu’s SB1172 is the first legislative effort to ban sexual orientation-change efforts (SOCE) for those under 18 and to require adults seeking such therapy to sign 'informed consent forms.'

"Psychologist Christopher Rosik, President of National Association for Research Therapy of Homosexuality, noted that the only study cited in the bill -- Ryan, et al. (2009), 123, Pediatrics, 346-352 -- examined family rejection and not SOCE; used flawed sampling; showed recruitment bias; was limited to young adults and not youth; and the study itself cautioned against generalizing its results (p.351). The study has no legitimate place as scientific backing for the bill.1
'Sen. Lieu erroneously claimed in a press statement, 'Sexual orientation change efforts pose critical health risks to lesbian, gay and bisexual people' up to and including depression, substance abuse and suicide. The senator also claimed there is insufficient evidence that any type of psychotherapy can change a person's sexual orientation.' Dr. Rosik replies by asking why California’s licensing agencies and mental health associations failed to issue licensure revocations or membership suspensions among therapists if SOCE was such a known hazard.

"The truth is the opposite of Sen. Lieu’s assertions. Decades of studies show positive results of SOCE for those who wish it.2 Homosexual practice itself leads to loss of 25 to 40 percent of life expectancy with higher rates of infectious disease, cancers, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, multiple psychopathologies and suicide. GLBT relationships are shown to be shorter lived, more prone to abuse and not the carbon copy of heterosexuality claimed by the gay and lesbian task forces of several professional guilds so easily maneuvered by the planned political-ideological stacking of key committees.3 Simply put, gay sex is bad for people, change is possible and many want it.

"SB1172 is ideology masquerading as science and an example of the intolerance, compulsory conformity and bullying tactics by which GLBT activists makes gains, but of which they accuse their opponents."4 5 6
1) Dr. Rosik’s report is found at
2) Stanton L. Jones (January, 2012), “Sexual orientation and reason: On the implications of false beliefs about homosexuality,” digitally published at or
3) “Negative Health Consequences of Same Sex Sexual Behavior” by Dr. Andre Van Mol on the CMDA web site at
4) Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay & Lesbian Task comments in a 2004 edition of "Between the Lines", a Detroit area homosexual newsmagazine, to politically "punish," "terrify" and "torture" activists who oppose his organization's agenda on "gay" rights
5) Eight Straight Suicides (Prof. Mike Adams lists 8 examples)
6) Hollywood Bullies Against Bullying? (Brent Bozell notes the bullies in the anti-bullying campaigns).

CMDA Ethics Statement: Homosexuality

Allowing non-physicians to perform abortions?

Excerpt from "California bill allowing non-physicians to perform abortions falters, Christian Examiner. April 30, 2012--A California Senate committee stalled a bill on Apr. 26 that would allow non-physicians to perform first-trimester suction abortions, shooting it down on a 4-4 vote. SB 1338, sponsored by Sen. Christine Kehoe of San Diego, sought to allow midwives, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants to perform abortions without medical supervision. The Senate Public Safety Committee approved the measure, but amended it so that only 41 non-physicians taking part in an as-yet incomplete five-year pilot training program could perform them. But the 4-4 vote in the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee didn’t decisively end the matter: The committee granted a reconsideration, which will bring it back for another vote on May 4.

Suction abortions involve inserting a cutting tool into the womb, which dismembers the preborn baby’s body. The remains are then evacuated through a suction tube into a bottle. The pilot program training midwives, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants to perform abortions is led by Tracy Weitz, a professor at the University of California-San Francisco, but underwritten by the John Merck Fund, which has made large donations in the past to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights and Choice USA. Weitz testified that “nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants can safely perform aspiration abortions in California.” But because of the risk of perforating the uterus or incompletely evacuating the fetal remains, pro-life advocates say the risks remain high — much higher than the study would lead people to believe.

The California Nurses Association, which usually leans left on abortion issues, called SB 1338 “ill-conceived and unnecessary.” In a letter, the bishops of the California Catholic Conference said that “in the name of enhancing access, convenience and cost-savings, this bill will do nothing to make abortion ‘safe and rare.’ ” “You don’t have to be anti-abortion to oppose this attempt to lower the standard of health care for women and girls based not on completed scientific evidence but on ideology and financial gain,” wrote political watchdog Margaret A. Bengs in an April 21 Sacramento Bee op-ed. Full story can be found here.

CMDA Senior Vice President Gene Rudd, MD: "Having experience in teaching and practicing with certified nurse midwives, I have long advocated for non-physician healthcare professionals. So, while a reasonable concern can be raised about safety issues if non-physicians are licensed to do abortions, that is not my primary concern. My concern is placing non-physician health professionals in the shadowy world of abortion; a world that does not attract the most competent skills or character; a world where institutional quality standards are poorly monitored; a world of inadequate professional accountability; a world willing to place agenda over beneficence.

"Even if pilot studies show nurse practitioners and physician assistants perform abortions with reasonable safety outcomes, we cannot assume that will reflect future reality. The controls of a research environment and the researcher bias common in abortion studies will likely result in more favorable outcomes than will occur if non-physician practitioners are allowed behind the veil of the abortion industry.

"Caveat lawmaker: let the California legislators beware. For if they fail to protect unsuspecting women, I fear the consequences."

CMDA Ethics Statement: Abortion
What is a Christian view of abortion and from a Biblical perspective how should we react to pending federal and state bills?
DVD: Biology of Prenatal Development DVD from The Endowment for Human Development, distributed by National Geographic

Your faith and your practice

Your faith and your practice
Excerpt from "Setting faith aside can make doctors less effective, researchers find," Press Herald. April 7, 2012--Doctors and scholars examine how physicians are discouraged or encouraged from integrating their faith and their practice. As a medical student, Dr. Julie Oyler was told to remove the cross she wore on the lapel of her white coat. As a resident, Dr. Aasim Padela was told he wouldn't have time to recite Islam's five daily prayers. But ignoring God was not an option for Oyler, an evangelical Christian, and Padela, a Muslim. Nor should it be, according to researchers at the University of Chicago, where both doctors now freely practice their medical specialties and religious traditions. After discovering that silence on matters of spirituality left some patients unsatisfied with the care they received at the University of Chicago, two doctors there and four faculty scholars have chosen to examine how some medical schools either encourage or discourage physicians to integrate their faith both in conversations with patients and their own professional lives. Doctors who set their faith aside, they say, can become disillusioned and less effective. "When doctors are dispirited, the care they give to patients is worse," said Dr. Farr Curlin, co-director of the Program on Medicine and Religion. "Patients should be very hopeful that their doctor sees their work as a remarkable privilege, even a holy privilege, that will make the doctor respond to that patient out of joy." Both Curlin and Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, an internist who also serves on the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, said they believe that as the gap between health care and religion has widened, the quality of care for patients has diminished.

Both men say policymakers and insurers have perpetuated that sense of alienation by treating healthcare as nothing more than a business. That has led some doctors to feel unfulfilled. Many seem to have forgotten the calling that led them to medicine, having been urged to abandon that way of thinking and focus on science, Sulmasy said. For many, that repression of faith begins in basic training when medical students are typically pressured to set their lifelong beliefs aside and focus on objective science. Oyler, a primary care physician at the University of Chicago, said she felt uncomfortable sharing her faith for years after she was reprimanded as a medical student for wearing a cross on the collar of her white coat. While she still doesn't advertise her evangelical Christian faith to patients, she does establish during the initial appointment what role religion plays in her patients' lives, in case that becomes the basis for decisions they make over time. If the person shares her Christian faith, she lets them know they have something in common.

Though the American Medical Association has no policy encouraging or discouraging a separation of church and medicine, the Joint Commission, the accrediting agency for health care institutions, requires medical professionals to receive some training in spiritual care. Still, there are some who believe God talk should be taboo in medicine and religion should play no role in a doctor's bedside manner. Full story can be found here.

CMDA Past President Al Weir, MD: "What role should faith play in our work as Christian doctors? Should it be visible? Should it be shared?

"Dr. Farr Curlin in Chicago and others, like Dr. Tracy Balboni in Boston, have addressed this issue with scientific methodology for many years. Their investigations clearly point to the conclusion that most patients wish for doctors to be open with their faith and to address spiritual issues. In 2005, Dr. Curlin summarized his recommendations for doctors in a beautiful article entitled Strangers or Friends (J Gen Int Med 2005; 20:370-374). He proposed that patients desire a doctor’s wisdom, not competence alone; patients desire respect for their faith issues, not avoidance; and patients desire candor rather than neutrality. Our patients want us to be authentic, especially if we are demonstrating the life God has called us to live.

"And they should. Our faith in Christ is a chisel that fashions us into better doctors. Faith in Christ shapes our character into integrity; knowing Him shapes our motivation into love; His truth defines all patients as persons of value; His presence brings wisdom into whole person care. For the good of our patients, Christians need to be authentic. This alone is enough to keep me on my knees every day.

"In addition, we have a mandate from the Creator of the Universe to share our faith, to bear witness. How we do that is another great story."

CMDA Ethics Statement: Sharing Faith in Practice
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CMDA Weekly Devotions