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Christian Medical Association encouraged by U.S. actions to enforce conscience freedom law in healthcare, focus on international women’s health

Washington, D.C.—December 16, 2020—Following an announcement by Vice President Pence at the White House, the Christian Medical Association* (, CMA) today in a statement expressed appreciation and support for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) actions to protect health professionals from being forced to participate in abortions, to prevent state governments from mandating participation in insurance plans that cover abortion, and to focus on consensus women's health issues internationally.

The CMA statement comes in response to actions by the HHS Office of Civil Rights announced today by Pence at a White House event attended by a CMA representative. HHS actions include a lawsuit against the University of Vermont Medical Center, which has continued to insist despite HHS interventions that the institution can force staff to participate in abortions.

HHS actions announced by Pence today also include disallowing $200 million per quarter in federal funds to the state of California, for the state's continuing refusal to comply with the federal Weldon Amendment that prohibits mandating insurance coverage of abortions.

"As our national polling has proven, our members have experienced rampant discrimination for simply honoring the life-honoring Hippocratic and faith-based principle of protecting human life and never intentionally taking a life," noted CMA Senior Vice President for Bioethics and Public Policy Dr. Jeffrey Barrows, an OB/Gyn physician. "These actions taken by HHS are essential to ensuring that no one is forced to participate in abortion against his or her conscience."

CMA Director of Federal Government Relations Jonathan Imbody added, "The HHS action against the state of California sends a strong message that no state, no matter how large and no matter how radical the abortion views of its leaders, can unilaterally nullify federal conscience protections. For some reason, the abortion industry and its politician allies seem fixated on forcing Catholic nuns to participate in abortion through insurance coverage—from the Little Sisters of the Poor to the sisters of the Missionary Guadalupanas of the Holy Spirit. This radical trampling of conscience is contrary to our most fundamental, Constitutional freedoms of thought, speech and exercise of faith."

Vice President Pence also announced today the addition of the countries of Georgia, Qatar and Paraguay to the Geneva Consensus Declaration. Now 35 countries representing 1.6 billion people have signed the document, which calls for a focus on consensus women's health issues rather than on forcing countries to adopt an abortion rights agenda.

Imbody praised the work of HHS's Special Representative for Global Women's Health Valerie Huber in coordinating the work that has resulted in the Declaration.

"Valerie and her colleagues including Garrett Grigsby and others at HHS, and Secretary Mike Pompeo and colleagues at the U.S. Department of State, have accomplished one of the most significant international life-affirming successes for women's health and the sanctity of life in recent history. By making this Declaration an official international document, their work ensures that this landmark, life-honoring statement of principle endures beyond the shifting winds of administrations."

*The Christian Medical Association along with the Christian Dental Association form the Christian Medical & Dental Associations.


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