Why We Need the Conscience Protection Act

What would you do if you were forced to choose between participating in an abortion—or losing your career and livelihood?

Increasing numbers of medical professionals are facing this unfortunate dilemma. This and other  health care conscience dilemmas were the subject of yesterday’s congressional forum about the Conscience Protection Act of 2016. The bill would protect healthcare professionals from having to pay for or participate in abortions; and it would protect conscientiously objecting insurance plans from being required to cover abortion.

The bill will be voted on next week (so don’t forget to contact your Congressman’s office and tell them to vote in favor)!

Witnesses from the forum included Cathy DeCarlo, RN, an operating room nurse in New York City. She was coerced into assisting in a 22-week abortion under hospital threat of losing both her job and her nursing license. She still suffers nightmares as a result. The hospital was aware of DeCarlo’s conscientious and religious objection to abortion. To add insult to injury, DeCarlo was told by a judge that although she may have been illegally coerced, she had no right to a day in court.

Also testifying was Dr. Donna Harrison, the director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists—which represents 4,000 OB-GYNs. She explained that the fear of being coerced into an abortion prevents doctors from entering the Ob-Gyn profession.

Harrison reminded Congress that pro-life discrimination is particularly damaging to women, as most US women think abortion is wrong, and want doctors who agree with their beliefs. Harrison cited two different studies that stated 85% of obstetricians don’t perform elective abortions because they want to protect women and their children. Forcing all healthcare providers to fund or perform abortions will block access to health care for women, Harrison explained, because it’s forcing OB-GYNs out of the medical field.

The Conscience Protection Act of 2016 is an important step forward to protect women’s freedom and their health. Please speak for yourselves and let your legislators know you support this bill! Click here to send them an email through Human Life Action (HLA), who will forward it directly to your Congressman (all you need is your name and zip code).

Rita is an intern with Women Speak for Themselves and a student at the Catholic University of America. She joined WSFT because they give all women an opportunity to have their voices heard in a unique and authentically feminine way.

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