Friday, April 18, 2008

ACOG Abortion Conscience Policy to be Reviewed

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recently issued an ethics position recommending that physicians either perform or refer for abortions, and should locate their practices close to abortion doctors to facilitate referrals. The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) shortly thereafter issued a bulletin apparently linking that policy, along with all ACOG ethics statements, to board certification.

Here is the statement from the CMDA CEO, David Stevens, DA Chief Executive Officer:

"Right of conscience, enshrined in the first amendment, is the bedrock of professionalism. Hippocrates, for the sake of his conscience and his patients, battled the mores of his day when doctors were as likely to kill as cure. The covenant doctor-patient relationship he articulated afforded medicine the respect it needed to flourish.

Today, abortion ideologues lead the charge to limit, if not wipe out, what they euphemistically call the 'right of refusal.' Their strategy is to infiltrate professional organizations and define a new patient centric standard of care to marginalize and ultimately eliminate doctors of conscience. They began with ACOG, where they are firmly ensconced.

CMDA has led the fight to eradicate this abscess on the body of medicine. We immediately alerted members of Congress and government officials. We convened a strategy session of pro-life organizations to formulate responses. We wrote a letter of protest to ACOG which many national organizations and individuals signed and also marshaled our OB/GYN members to write letters to ACOG and ABOG.

ACOG responded that they would reconsider the issue at their March Ethics Committee meeting.

We 'redoubled' our efforts leading up that date. Members of Congress, led by obstetrician Congressman Phil Gingrey, sent a letter to ACOG and ABOG challenging their statement and demanding its retraction. The Secretary of Health and Human Services wrote a letter warning both groups that their action likely would break federal laws banning discrimination against healthcare professionals who refuse to refer for or perform abortions.

The issue then hit the airwaves in a National Public Radio (NPR) piece. An ABOG spokesperson stated that a willingness to do abortions was not required for recertification but failed to address the requirement to refer. No public announcement has been made by ACOG after their ethics committee met, but one is expected by the end of the month. We continue to monitor the situation.

This issue ultimately will affect every one of our graduate and student members. We dare not ignore this infection or it will destroy us and the profession we love. On the public policy front, Right of Conscience will remain a top priority for CMDA."

For more, go here.

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