May 2, 2019

Catholic Medical Association Applauds Department of Health and Human Services for New Conscience Rights Regulations

PHILADELPHIA, PA– May 2, 2019 –The Catholic Medical Association today commended The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), for their work to protect the conscience rights of all health care professionals.

“The Catholic Medical Association applauds this action taken by the Department of Health and Human Services,” said Dr. John Schirger, President of CMA.

“The integrity of conscience is central to every human life, as has been affirmed by Saint Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis. This should of course apply to health care workers as well, and nothing short of protection of their conscience is acceptable. We are very grateful for this action having been taken,” added Dr. Schirger.

HHS explained in a statement Thursday that the final Conscience Rule “will protect healthcare providers, individuals, and other health care entities from having to provide, participate in, pay for, or refer for services which violate their conscience.”

The CMA applauds HHS for setting forth the clear conditions upon which physicians and health care providers can object to participating in abortions, assisted suicide, or other procedures which violate their religious beliefs.

“We welcome the finalization of this rule by the Department of Health and Human Services which protects the most sacred right of conscience,” said Dr. Marie Hilliard, Co-Chair of CMA’s Ethics Committee.

“Without this protection, healthcare workers cannot be true advocates for our patients, especially if the best interest of the patient is being violated. As Catholic healthcare professionals, we never abandon patients even if it means we must transfer their care if they are requesting a procedure that violates their well-being or our professional integrity. Thus, this final rule is very protective of not only professionals but of the human beings served,” Dr. Hilliard added.

Additionally, the CMA thanks HHS for recognizing the critical need for the protection of conscience rights—and for standing up for religious freedom and human life.

The Conscience Rule is set to take effect 60 days after being published in the Federal Register.

The Catholic Medical Association is a national, physician-led community of over 2,300 healthcare professionals consisting of 109 local guilds. CMA’s mission is to inform, organize, and inspire its members, in steadfast fidelity to the teachings of the Catholic Church, and to uphold the principles of the Catholic faith in the science and practice of medicine.

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