July 29, 2021
by Nicole D. Hayes
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Proverbs 14:12, ESV).
If deception counts on anything for its success, it is a mind that has a willful blindness to the truth. A mind created by God who thinks they can be their own god. But how does the created presume to know more than its Creator? Such a mind relies on its own understanding and denies any semblance of truth to justify its decisions. Unfortunately, such thinking is blinded and uninstructed, leading to destructive ends as indicated in Proverbs 14:12.
Healthcare right of conscience is an area of state advocacy where we are battling more to protect patients from harm driven by futile thinking and to shield healthcare professionals and healthcare institutions from being forced to participate or pay for any healthcare service that violates their conscience. As medical and scientific advancements have expanded, not all services that patients seek are beneficial, ethical or of sound healthcare but are geared toward expedient and damaging ends. For healthcare professionals of faith operating in an increasingly amoral culture led by futile thinking that gives way to destructive ends, their space to practice healthcare as it aligns with their faith and values is shrinking. Per a 2019 survey conducted by CMDA:
- 23 percent of respondents reported personally experiencing discrimination,
- 36 percent of respondents reported having faced pressure or discrimination from medical school administrators or faculty based on their beliefs,
- 20 percent of respondents said they decided not to pursue a career in certain fields due to a lack of tolerance for their moral, ethical or religious beliefs (80 percent of these respondents had chosen not to pursue a specialty in OB/Gyn), and
- 91 percent of respondents reported they “would rather stop practicing medicine altogether than be forced to violate [their] conscience.”
For these reasons, the Medical Ethics and Diversity (MED) Act, model legislation prepared by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) in partnership with allied organizations such as CMDA and the Catholic Medical Association (CMA), has been introduced in several states this year (passed in Arkansas and Ohio so far) to protect healthcare professionals and students from being punished when they decline to participate in, perform or refer for medical procedures they believe are morally and ethically wrong. To be clear, the healthcare professional has expressed a conscientious objection to providing a specific service, but they are not refusing care for the person.
A medical right of conscience violation could include a physician being compelled to prescribe or refer for puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to a youth struggling with gender dysphoria, knowing there is no or low-quality evidence to indicate such treatments are beneficial. Furthermore, there is increasing evidence of their harm and, in some cases, irreversible consequences. In this sobering 2021 documentary, Trans Mission: What is the Rush to Reassign Gender, we hear compelling testimonies from patients who underwent puberty blockers and various mutilating surgeries in hopes to change their biological sex but now have great regret. The threat that the patient might commit suicide if they do not receive certain therapies and surgeries to overcome their gender dysphoria has made a greater push for gender affirmation therapies. If anything, after such therapies and surgeries, their problems were exacerbated with increased identity disconnect, depression and suicidal ideation. For those who are now sharing their stories of regret, they offer insights learned at a high cost that can prevent others from pursuing a similar path if they will listen.
This is a painful truth learned after they denied truth. Sadly, the patient was not served by a healthcare professional who would have sought their best interest but rather a healthcare “vending machine” who yielded to their patient’s press-button whims, regardless of harm. We need Christians in healthcare who will boldly and lovingly stand between patients becoming victims to their futile thinking and an enemy who simply wants to add more casualties in his plot “to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). We need Christians in healthcare who, through their witness and speaking truth, will set others free, one chain of captivity at a time, emancipating them from a path of spiritual death and destruction by putting them on a path that leads to life and life to the full (John 10:10). We pray for the Holy Spirit to lead them into all truth. We know that a mind informed and guided by God’s Word can be led out of ignorance, can discern that which is good from evil/truth from error, and thereby escape death (destruction). Hallelujah!
Healthcare professionals need the freedom to provide sound medical recommendations based on scientific evidence that enables them to practice medicine in patients’ best interests. In their call to heal and to “do no harm,” healthcare professionals should be able to advise their patients against detrimental treatments or procedures without fear of being fired or sued.
As we prepare for the 2022 legislative session, please pray for healthcare right of conscience protections to be passed in every state that lacks an overarching, comprehensive law (ex: Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas; the bill failed to pass in Kentucky due to LGBTQ opposition and failed in South Dakota due to opposition from their hospital systems and hospital associations). Please pray that God will stir our hearts to contact our legislators on a regular basis, for apathy will kill a good bill or pass a bad bill. Christians have an obligation to stand against evil. Protecting healthcare professionals means more choices for patients. We as patients deserve the opportunity to be cared for by moral healthcare professionals—which will be less the case if they are forced to leave the field because such protections are not in place.