Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Empowering women: Roe or pregnancy centers?

Excerpted from "'Roe v. Wade' about much more than abortion," by Kate Michelman (NARAL Pro-Choice America) and Carol Tracy (Women's Law Project), USA Today, January 22, 2013--Tuesday marks the 40th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, a milestone for women in America because this right to control our capacity to reproduce enhances our ability to participate fully in society. It helps ensure our privacy, our dignity and our health.

During the 2012 elections, women made their voices heard. In almost every instance where women's reproductive rights were on the ballot, freedom prevailed.

Last year, 19 states enacted 43 measures to limit abortion access. This was in addition to the 92 abortion restrictions enacted in 24 states in 2011. Twenty states restricted abortion coverage through the state health insurance exchanges mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

Currently, contraception can be barred from employer-based insurance coverage in eight states, and abstinence-only education remains the norm in most of our country. This fight against contraception reveals the hypocrisy of the anti-abortion groups: Their concern isn't protecting the unborn fetus; it's about controlling women's choices.

Technically, the core protections guaranteed by Roe v. Wade remain intact. However, those protections are eroding because of the constant onslaught by conservatives bent on undermining the rights of women. The goal of Roe v. Wade was to ensure a woman's right to control the most intimate aspect of her life. Without this right, women are unable to participate equally with men in the nation's social, political and economic life.


Jonathan ImbodyCMA Vice President for Govt. Relations Jonathan Imbody: “Abortion advocates contend that without abortion on demand, which the Supreme Court imposed on all states 40 years ago through Roe v. Wade, 'women are unable to participate equally with men in the nation's social, political and economic life.' That would be news, of course, to the millions of women who have had children while also making meaningful contributions to society, politics and professional enterprises.

"Meanwhile, women who face financial and personal challenges during pregnancy and after giving birth are receiving financial, medical and practical help plus emotional and spiritual support from pregnancy centers around the country, such as those overseen by our friends at CareNet and Heartbeat International.

"Unlike billion-dollar abortion enterprises like Planned Parenthood that get half a billion in tax dollars a year while performing nearly a million abortions in three years,[i] these pregnancy centers provide compassionate and life-changing services through charitable contributions, devoted staff and volunteers who demonstrate love in action. Women are able to 'participate equally with men' as the young fathers learn--through pregnancy centers' education, counseling and mentoring--to share in the responsibility and fulfillment of bringing a new life into the world.

"With such safety net resources and a life-affirming perspective, surely we can all--women, men and children--live and thrive together."

Medical pregnancy centers need physicians willing to volunteer as little as an hour per week to write orders, read ultrasounds and provide oversight to the nurse administering the medical services. To find a pregnancy center near you through a national pro-life organization:

[i] Based on Planned Parenthood’s annual report for fiscal year 2011-2012 showing that the organization has net assets exceeding $1.2 billion, received $542 million in taxpayer funding and performed 333,964 abortions during fiscal year 2011. Their previous annual reports show that the organization performed 329,445 abortions in 2010 and 332,278 abortions in 2009, bringing the total number of abortions in three years to nearly 1 million abortions.

CMA comments regarding ANPRM contraceptive Mandate
Questions for the record follow up for CMA testimony on contraception mandate
CMDA Ethics Statement: Abortion

CMA op-ed published in The Washington Times

January 28, 2013--IMBODY: Obama ‘freedom to worship’ assaults First Amendment

Freedom of religion not just for private expression
By Jonathan Imbody, vice president for govt. relations, Christian Medical Association

President Obama recently marked Religious Freedom Day by framing religious liberty as "the freedom to worship as we choose." If the president had not been restricting and attacking religious freedoms so egregiously, he might merit a pass for using "freedom to worship" as poor shorthand for religious liberty.

The First Amendment of our Constitution actually reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...." The constitutionally guaranteed free exercise of religion in America extends well beyond the freedom to worship; it includes the freedom to live out our conscientiously held beliefs.

Worship at its core is essentially a private and personal process, a communion between God and an individual. No government could restrict such worship, any more than it could monitor and censor every citizen's thoughts and prayers. Even forbidding individuals to worship together in public, which coercive communist governments like China's have done, cannot actually prevent individuals from worshiping God in private.

So a law that merely protected the freedom to worship would hardly be worth heralding in a presidential proclamation.

The free exercise of religion under the American Constitution, by contrast, includes the freedom to openly express, follow and live out our faith--not just in private but also in the public square--without government coercion, censorship or any other form of restriction.

The Constitution's framers concept of religious liberty included not merely the freedom to worship, but also the free exercise of conscience--carrying out one's moral beliefs with conviction and action.

As Thomas Jefferson asserted, "[O]ur rules can have authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God."1

James Madison expressed this understanding in his original amendment to the Constitution: "The civil rights of none, shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext infringed."2

To be fair, President Obama's statement eventually included a more expansive acknowledgement of religious freedom: "Because of the protections guaranteed by our Constitution, each of us has the right to practice our faith openly and as we choose."

Yet the record will show that the president's gilded rhetoric belies tarnished policies. The prioritization of the president's first statement--that religious freedom means simply freedom to worship--in fact parallels his policies. Those policies often violate not only the general principles of the First Amendment but also the more specific Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which provides that "Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion" and must take "the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest."

Obama administration actions to restrict or outright violate religious liberty include:
  • Gutting the only federal conscience regulation protecting the conscience rights of American healthcare professionals.

  • Issuing a coercive contraception and sterilization mandate that imposes the president's abortion ideology on all employers, exempting virtually only places of worship. The thousands of faith-based charities that actually exercise their faith and conscience beyond the four walls of their churches now face millions of dollars in fines by the Obama administration.

  • Arguing to the Supreme Court in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, against a religious institution in an attempt to restrict faith-based organizations' hiring rights. In a unanimous decision, even Mr. Obama's own appointees to the Court rejected the administration's radical arguments to restrict religious liberty.

  • Failing for months to aggressively advocate on behalf of pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen imprisoned, tortured and now on trial, facing possible execution by the Iranian government for simply living out and speaking about his Christian faith.

The first American congress enshrined religious liberty preeminently in the Bill of Rights. Many of those leaders and their fellow patriots who ratified the First Amendment had risked everything they owned and their very lives to win those freedoms. They also recognized that threatening one group’s freedoms, by either restricting or establishing a faith, threatens the freedoms of everyone.

Unless we act swiftly to protect current assaults on religious liberty--by reversing the administration's coercive policies through the courts, by passing conscience-protecting laws in Congress and by reeducating the culture on religious liberty, our First Amendment freedoms will become an empty proclamation.


Notes on the State of Virginia (1787), Query 17, p. 159, ed. William Peden (1954).
James Madison, proposed amendment to the Constitution, given in a speech in the House of Representatives, 1789.

CMDA Ethics Statement: Right of Conscience
Right of Conscience Discrimination Stories
Right of Conscience Resources

Thursday, January 17, 2013

"Surrender the Secret"

With an estimated 43 percent of women in the United States having had an abortion, and more than 54 million babies aborted since the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973, the number of women suffering with their abortion secret is staggering.

Surrender The Secret tells the real-life abortion stories of five women and follows them as they go through post-abortion recovery. Together, these brave women embark upon a healing journey using an eight-session Bible study called Surrendering the Secret (authored by Pat Layton, LifeWay Press, 2008), specifically written for women who have had an abortion.

"Surrender The Secret" will premiere on on January 22, 2013, the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade. During the 10 episodes of this first-of-a-kind Christian reality TV series, the women form a close bond and trust each other as they open up and share their darkest secret and how it has affected their lives. "Surrender The Secret" shows their amazing transformation, spiritually, emotionally and even physically, coming from the pain and shame of having an abortion in their past, releasing their anger, receiving forgiveness and finding peace in God’s love and grace.


Robert RoganCMDA Member, Psychiatrist and Family Medicine Robert Rogan, DO, JD: "The abortion issue is prominent in today’s news. The 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Russia’s banning of all U.S. adoptions and our teetering economy all serve to remind us of the tremendous cost of abortion. Did not our Master Himself say, 'See that you do not despise one of these little ones...' (Matthew 18:10, NASB)? Or in Exodus 23:7 say, 'Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty' (NIV 1984). Deuteronomy 27:25 adds, 'Cursed is the man who accepts a bribe to kill an innocent person' (NIV 1984).

"Now as we in medicine realize the painful effects of abortion on every woman involved and many of the men, a new TV program is coming on the scene. Premiering on January 22 on the internet from Knock TV, 'Surrender the Secret' will guide us through the potential steps to begin understanding and healing. The viewing audience follows the healing and restoration of women who underwent abortions as they go through a Bible study. After reviewing the pilot episode, it is exciting to see that truth about abortion’s physical and emotional carnage is finally visible for all to see. The PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) of these women is more subtle than that from wartime combat, but just as real.

"Only available initially on the internet, the program can be viewed at will in private for those only now willing to admit the pain. I pray word will spread and this new entry can lead to release and healing for those so long bearing the scars hidden from our view. The pain of these women is palpable, but now so is the hope.

"As doctors, let us get the truth out so that the outcry itself can stop or at least slow the slaughter of the innocent."

Planned Parenthood and taxpayer support

Excerpt from "Planned Parenthood receives record amount of taxpayer support, Fox News. January 8, 2013--Planned Parenthood reported receiving a record $542 million in taxpayer support in fiscal 2012, marking a steady increase in government funding despite Republican-led efforts at the state and federal levels to cut off that stream. The funding figures were included in the abortion provider's annual report released Monday. The numbers showed roughly 45 percent of Planned Parenthood's budget now comes from taxpayer dollars. Pro-life groups quickly seized on the report to renew their calls for Congress to "defund" Planned Parenthood.

"Americans are sick and tired of underwriting the nation's largest abortion business," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List. The Republican-controlled House voted in the last session to strip federal funding for the organization but the measure did not advance. Separate efforts at the state level to yank funding have been blocked by the courts. Mostly recently, a federal appeals court in October blocked Indiana from carrying out a law to cut Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood. According to the latest annual report, the $542 million in taxpayer support last year counted Medicaid money. The total represents a steady increase, up 11 percent from $487 million the year before; that amount was up 34 percent from $363 million the year before that.

Planned Parenthood also slammed a renewed effort in Congress by Black and others to strip certain federal funding to the group. The latest annual report also showed Planned Parenthood performed nearly 334,000 abortions in 2011, which The Susan B. Anthony List said was a record. Though federal funding is not supposed to go toward abortions, pro-life groups and lawmakers still suggested a connection between the increases. "Planned Parenthood has spent much of the last few years demanding that taxpayers add millions more to their coffers, citing their non-profit status and so-called focus on women's health. What have we received for our money? While government subsidies to Planned Parenthood have reached an all-time high, so too has the number of lives ended by this profit-driven abortion business," Dannenfelser said. Full story can be found here.


Jonathan ImbodyVice President for Government Relations Jonathan Imbody: "To draw your own conclusions, consider the following facts highlighted by my friend and colleague Sarah Torres of the Heritage Foundation, drawn from Planned Parenthood's legally required new annual report:
  • • "Planned Parenthood reported receiving record taxpayer funding [$542 million in tax dollars] in the last reporting year, while also performing a record number of abortions. Planned Parenthood recently announced that all local affiliates would have to begin providing abortion services starting in 2013.

  • "Planned Parenthood performed 333,964 abortions—a record for the organization that received 45 percent of its revenues from taxpayer-funded government sources during the 2011-12 fiscal year. According to analysis by Susan B. Anthony List, Planned Parenthood has performed almost 1 million abortions in the past three years alone. The organization made only 2,300 adoption referrals and provided fewer than 30,000 prenatal services.
  • "Excess revenues exceeding $87 million and net assets of more than $1.2 billion.
  • "Despite the half-truths spread during last year’s election—the organization does not and cannot provide mammograms. As Alliance Defending Freedom’s (ADF) Casey Mattox explained following an ADF Freedom of Information Act request, no Planned Parenthood affiliate even holds the licenses necessary under federal law to perform mammograms.
  • "Accusations of fraud and the group’s apparent willingness to abet the sex trafficking of minor girls should at least raise scrutiny of the organization’s federal funding.'
"A million abortions in three years. A 'nonprofit" with $1.2 billion in assets. Half a billion in tax dollars annually. The facts speak for themselves.'"

Contact your Rep: Use this quick and easy form at CMA's Freedom2Care legislative action site to contact your U.S. Representative to support the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act (HR 217). The House bill would ensure that Title X family planning grants are used for their intended purpose and not to provide a fungible subsidy to organizations that perform abortions.

Freedom2Care Planned Parenthood Blog
Christian Doctor's Digest Featuring:
  • Abby Johnson, Former Director of Planned Parenthood Clinic
  • Georgette Forney, Abortion Outreach Ministry

America’s future

Excerpt from "Viewpoint: Pro-Life and Feminism Aren’t Mutually Exclusive," Time, by Emily Buchanan. January 3, 2013--From its early beginnings, feminism was a young women’s movement. Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul, Charlotte Lozier and so many others began their suffragist work in their 20s. These women — the original feminists — understood that the rights of women cannot be built on the broken backs of unborn children. Anthony called abortion “child murder.” Paul, author of the original 1923 Equal Rights Amendment, said that “abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women.” So the pro-life movement hasn’t changed the meaning of feminism, as has been suggested. It was the neo-feminists of the 1960s and ’70s who asked women to prize abortion as the pathway to equality.

Pro-life feminism has captivated a new generation of young women who reject the illusion that to be pro-woman is to be pro-choice. Gallup polling showed that among 18-to-29-year-olds, there was a 5 percent increase in those labeling themselves “pro-life” between 2007–08 and 2009–10. The past few years have seen the emergence of young leaders like Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America, who is responsible for organizing more than 675 pro-life groups on college campuses across the nation, and Lila Rose of Live Action, whose undercover video work has forced the abortion industry to confront and amend practices it cannot defend, as well as dozens of other future leaders who have assisted our organization as staff members and interns. Not only does this young generation of pro-life women shun the notion that abortion somehow liberates women; it views abortion as the civil- and human-rights cause of our day. Abortion is an injustice that permeates our society. Forty years after Roe v. Wade, we realize that a third of our peers are not here to share our progress and our hopes. It is our loss as well as theirs.

In his letter from a Birmingham, Alabama, jail, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” It is in this same spirit of King and the original feminists that young pro-life women are rising up in increasing numbers to say abortion is a radical injustice that affects us all and must end. Achieving this will require more efforts to extend our understanding of the equal rights of the disabled unborn, prevent rape and make this crime against women a thing of the past, expand adoption and make the benefits of modern prenatal care and specialties like fetal surgery more available, so that even younger and sicker children can be spared an early death. Our fight transcends elections and legislative battles because our fight is in our hearts. This is why, 40 years after Roe, our movement is still growing. We won’t give up; we can’t give up. Our fight is for life. Full story can be found here.


Sandy ChristiansenCMDA Member and Care Net Pregnancy Center Medical Director Sandra Christiansen, MD: "Emily Buchanan and young women and men like her give us hope that while the socio-economic future may look bleak, the moral fiber of America is on the mend.

"Young women are rising up in increasing numbers to stand firm for the sanctity of life, closely mirroring the values promoted by our earliest feminists. Embracing the fullness of womanhood, these women unabashedly affirm the core of what makes us unique among humankind—the singular ability to be a mother.

"Modern women need liberation from the notion that abortion affords freedom. Of the neo-feminists, Frederica Mathewes-Green writes, 'A woman with an unplanned pregnancy faces more than ‘inconvenience;’ many adversities, financial and social, at school, at work and at home confront her. Our mistake was in looking at these problems and deciding that the fault lay with the woman, that she should be the one to change. We focused on her swelling belly, not the discrimination that had made her so desperate.'

"The neo-feminists of the 1970s turned their backs on women by promoting the idea that the child is the problem, and the only wise and progressive choice is to eliminate that ‘obstacle.’ But who could truly love and value women while simultaneously urging them to start a war within themselves that denies what every cell and strand of DNA knows——that she is designed and fashioned for motherhood? To do this is to tear the very fiber of her being; this is the tragic legacy of 40 years of abortion on demand.

"Our young people are showing us that there is hope for healing now and in America’s future."

January 2013 Christian Doctor's Digest Featuring:
  • Gianna Jessen, Saline Abortion Survivor
  • Priscilla Coleman, PhD, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University
  • Brian J. Stillwell, MD, Founding President and CEO of the Endowment for Human Development
  • John Willke, MD, President of the Life Issues Institute
Life Support Featuring Lila Rose, Founder of Live Action
Click Here to Purchase Biology of Prental Development

Call to Action
Care Net pregnancy centers could not function without the support of dedicated volunteers. Medical pregnancy centers are in need of physicians who are willing to volunteer as little as an hour per week to write orders, read ultrasounds and provide oversight to the nurse administering the medical services. If God is calling you to get involved, call your local pregnancy center. To find one near you go HERE and type in your zip code, you will be given a list of the centers in your region. Or, you may call Care Net at 703-554-8753 or email to learn more about becoming a medical director of a pregnancy center.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Free Condoms in Schools

Excerpted from "Condoms for free at 22 city schools,", by Kristen A. Graham. December 24, 2012--Over the holiday break a third of Philadelphia high schools installed clear plastic dispensers chock-full of free condoms. The dispensers were placed in the 22 high schools whose students had the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases, and condoms will be available to any student - so long as their parents did not sign a form opting them out of the program.
It's a pilot designed to address "an epidemic of sexually transmitted disease in adolescents in Philadelphia," said Donald F. Schwarz, the deputy mayor for health and opportunity. Since April 2011, the city has given away about four million condoms, and now, STD rates are falling. Some city high schools - the dozen that have "health resource centers" - already dispense free condoms. And the Health Department also provides them at city high schools when they go in to test teens for STDs, as they do every year voluntarily with a parent's consent.

"I support the policy strongly," said Mayor Nutter. "This is a serious public health matter." In an email to nurses, Philadelphia School District officials said that the dispensers would be installed "just inside the doorway near the entrance to your office" and that nurses were not to be charged with managing access. "Opt-out letters are to be maintained by the school office," Assistant Superintendent Dennis W. Creedon wrote. "Students are to honor the wishes of their parents. If a student disrespects their guardian's directive then that is an issue of the home." Still, Peg Devine, school nurse at Lincoln High - which is not a participant in the pilot program said, "I just can't imagine the parents of a 14-year-old being happy with this." Full story can be found here.


Dr. John WhiffenCMDA Lifetime Member and Medical Director at National Physicians Center John Whiffen, MD: “Sadly, the public school system in Philadelphia has decided to place clear plastic dispensers full of condoms in 22 high schools where the rates of sexually transmitted diseases are highest. While this effort is, no doubt, well intentioned, it is unlikely to have the desired effect.

"Throughout the last 40 years, we have seen a rapid rise in the number of sexually transmitted diseases while simultaneously promoting 'safe sex' as a way to combat it. When I was in medical school in the 1960s, there were only three common STDs, all of which were treatable. Now we have more than 40 diseases, many of which have no effective medical treatment because they are viral.

The predictable outcomes of this new effort to provide condoms to teenagers are as follows:
  1. The students will feel that sexual activity is okay according to the adults in their schools.

  2. Socially immature students will have a harder time refusing sexual advances since they will be unable to use their fear of STDs as a reason to avoid sex.

  3. Sexually active students will have more sexual encounters since the barrier has been lowered.

  4. The increased number of sexual encounters will increase the number of STDs. Many STDs are not prevented, or only partially reduced, by the use of condoms.

"These well meaning adults will then be confounded by the failure of their program to help the students in their charge. A realistic discussion of the physical, emotional and moral risks of premarital sexual activity would be far more helpful and appropriate."

Christian Doctors Digest with Dr. Joe McIlhaney on how casual sex is affecting our children
Christian Doctors Digest with Dr. Patricia Sulak on "Worth the Wait"

Medical killing in U.S. and Europe

Excerpted from "Expanding euthanasia," One News Now, by Charlie Butts. December 28, 2012--Belgium is on the brink of expanding its euthanasia program with a new proposal that will allow minors to commit suicide with medical assistance. Socialist party leaders are also hoping to permit people with Alzheimer's and dementia to do the same. Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition says the situation in Belgium is indeed deteriorating.

"Recent studies have shown that 32 percent of the euthanasia deaths are done without requests, that only 52 percent of the euthanasia deaths are actually reported, [and] they found that nurses are doing euthanasia, even though the law specifically prohibits it," he reports. Furthermore, couples are permitted to kill themselves when one has a terminal illness and the mate wants to die with him or her. But Schadenberg is especially disturbed by the reasoning behind allowing children to gain medical assistance to die. "It's basically because some children who are born with disabilities … they would say that these children are better off dead. So, what we'll do is since some cases are probably already doing this already anyway … we might as well just legalize this or allow that within the law officially," the pro-lifer relays. "In the case of dementia and Alzheimer's -- well, the fact of it is these people are expensive, and it's much cheaper just to kill them."

While he recognizes that may seem crass, Schadenberg laments it is reality in Belgium. Meanwhile, not one physician has been prosecuted, "although authorities know the law is being violated." Click here to read full article.


Dr. Susan RutherfordCMDA Lifetime Member and State Representative Susan Rutherford, MD: “As an obstetrician without end-of-life care expertise or ethics training, I began learning in 2008 about the dangers of euthanasia and suicide when Washington state legalized physician-assisted suicide.

"The 'option' morphs into an obligation, a recipe for elder abuse. Our law, like Oregon’s, hides actual practice, but in Europe where laws permit euthanasia, extralegal non-voluntary euthanasia is well documented. There is also constant pressure to expand the laws, justified by 'it is done anyway.' That gave the Netherlands the pediatric euthanasia Groningen Protocol for 'severely ill newborns.'

"News of a proposal in Belgium to institute a legal process for euthanizing certain children and people with dementia and to force nonparticipating doctors to find and refer to prescribers of death is another stanza in the constant advocacy clamor for death on demand and death for the 'non-productive.' Note that lip service to 'children who want this' quickly changes to 'or the parents.'

"Considering the global context of sin, the Bible clearly describes the truth that people whose behavior is depraved want company in their practices and affirmation of such choices (Romans 1:28-32). In a more narrow application to medicine, induced death runs contrary to the currents of patient safety and quality care of the whole person. Cutting corners (justified by expense and manpower demands) results in the normalization of deviance.

"As Christian physicians, let us be faithful to our patients and their families and put forth the effort to truly care for them. Let us work to protect each fragile and vulnerable person from coercion unto death and thus glorify God, who created every one of us in His image."

CMDA Ethics Statement: Euthanasia
Assisted Suicide/Ethanasia Resources Pages

Spiritual care rare at end of life

Excerpted from "Study finds spiritual care still rare at end of life," Chicago Tribune, by Kathleen Raven. December 26, 2012--Physicians and nurses at four Boston medical centers cited a lack of training to explain why they rarely provide spiritual care for terminally ill cancer patients - although most considered it an important part of treatment at the end of life. "I was quite surprised that it was really just lack of training that dominated the reasons why," senior author Dr. Tracy Balboni, a radiation oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, told Reuters Health. Current U.S. palliative care guidelines encourage medical practitioners to pay close attention to religious and spiritual needs that may arise during a patient's end-of-life care. However, the 204 physicians who participated in the study reported providing spiritual care to just 24 percent of their patients. Among 118 nurses, the figure was 31 percent. The 69 patients with advanced cancers who took the survey reported even lower rates, saying 14 percent of nurses and six percent of physicians had provided them some sort of spiritual care.

Past research has shown that spiritual care for seriously ill patients improves their quality of life, increases their overall satisfaction with hospital care and decreases aggressive medical treatment, which may in turn result in lower overall health spending. "I think we are realizing we can no longer ignore this aspect of care," said Ferrell, a professor of nursing who was not involved in the new study. Yet the reasons why spiritual care is rarely incorporated into patient treatment and dialogue have been poorly understood. To gain more insight, Balboni and her colleagues designed a survey - the first of its kind, to their knowledge - to compare attitudes toward spiritual care across randomly chosen patients, nurses and doctors in oncology departments at four hospitals. The questions were geared toward identifying barriers preventing healthcare professionals from delivering spiritual care, beginning with whether anyone felt it was inappropriate for them to be doing so. Full story can be found here.


Dr. Al WeirDirector of Hematology/Oncology Fellowship and Past President of CMDA Al Weir, MD: “I have followed Dr. Balboni and Dr. Puchalski for a number of years and am grateful for their scientific effort.

"What have they taught us?

"It is clear from their work and the work of others that:
  1. Religious practices such as regular prayer and church attendance are associated with improvement in many health outcomes.

  2. The majority of patients in the United Sates would like for their doctors to address their spiritual needs.

  3. A small minority of doctors actually does so.

  4. The first step in addressing spiritual needs is to take a patient’s spiritual history.

  5. Those who have been trained to address the spiritual needs of their patients are far more likely to do so.

"This information is well established and provides a rational motivation for addressing the spiritual needs of our patients.

"As Christian doctors, we also have a revelational motivation to bear witness for Christ with our patients. God has revealed to us through Scripture that we shall be His witnesses. So, whether we choose science or Scripture, we need to get about doing the work we have been assigned.

"A lack of training may be your concern, as in this study. If so, I’ve got good news for you. This year, Christian Medical & Dental Associations is introducing a new evangelism curriculum titled Grace Prescriptions. It is a major update on the popular Saline Solution curriculum introduced more than 10 years ago. The first Grace Prescriptions symposium will take place at CMDA’s headquarters in Bristol, Tennessee on February 9-10. For more information and to register, go to or call 888-230-2637."

End of Life Care Resource Pages
Faith and Health Resource Pages