Why protect conscience rights in health care?
1. Protect patient access to health care.
Without conscience protections, healthcare access for hundreds of thousands of patients nationwide will be threatened and healthcare costs will rise because of the lack of facilities to provide needed services.
Each year, one in six patients is cared for in a Catholic hospital. Without conscience protections, many faith-based hospitals that provide services to millions of patients may shut down rather than perform abortions.
Over nine in ten physicians in a national poll agreed, "I would rather stop practicing medicine altogether than be forced to violate my conscience." Driving faith-based professionals out of medicine would strand hundreds of thousands of patients, especially those in rural vicinities who rely on only a few doctors in their areas. Healthcare costs will rise because of the lack of doctors and medical facilities.
2. Preserve the patient-physician relationship.
Conscience protections are essential to preserve the exclusive patient-physician relationship. Without it, the government will be able to effectively limit where patients can go for care.
If the government does not protect life-honoring healthcare professionals and institutions from being forced to perform procedures they are morally opposed to, patients will no longer be able to choose such professionals and institutions.
3. Protect Hippocratic and faith-based healthcare professionals from discrimination.
Physicians who adhere to the Hippocratic Oath promise not to perform abortion and to guard the sanctity of human life. Abortion-related mandates force these physicians to either violate the Hippocratic Oath or lose their career in medicine.
Faith-based healthcare professionals report widespread discrimination because of conscience. A national survey reveals that:
32% have “been pressured to refer a patient for a procedure to which [they] had moral, ethical, or religious objections.
26% have “been pressured to write a prescription for a medication to which [they] had moral, ethical, or religious objections.
33% have “considered not pursuing a career in a particular medical specialty because of attitudes prevalent in that specialty that is not considered tolerant of [their] moral, ethical or religious beliefs.”
Real life stories reveal that medical students are opting out of careers in obstetrics and gynecology for fear of discrimination; physicians report being fired, harassed, coerced and intimidated for taking life-honoring stances.
4. Heed strong public support for legally protecting conscience rights.
Nationwide polling reveals that:
50% of American adults surveyed "strongly" or "somewhat" support "a law under which federal agencies and other government bodies that receive federal funds could not discriminate against hospitals and health care professionals who decline to participate in abortions." Only 35% opposed.
- 77% of American adults surveyed said it is either “very” or “somewhat” important to them that "that healthcare professionals in the U.S. are not forced to participate in procedures or practices to which they have moral objections." Only 16% said it is not important.