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Christian Medical Association objects to HHS rule requiring abortion referrals, violating conscience laws

The 20,000-member Christian Medical Association (CMA, today filed objections with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on a proposed Title X family planning program rule that would "gut conscience protections," according to CMA Senior Vice President for Bioethics and Public Policy Dr. Jeffrey Barrows.

"By requiring referrals for abortion, the administration is gutting conscience protections and violating decades of bipartisan conscience laws," said Dr. Barrows, an OB/Gyn physician.

"The proposed rule appears to aim to exclude pro-life organizations from competing for Title X grants and to exclude parents from involvement in their children's decision," Dr. Barrows added.

The proposed HHS rule would overturn a 2019 rule that did not require abortion referrals and encouraged parental involvement, among other reforms to previous administrations' Title X rules.

CMA's comment submitted today also contends that "ideologues have twisted Title X's Congressional intent" and that "allowing the physical comingling of Title X and abortion activities disregards the Title X statutory requirement to prevent the use of tax dollars where abortion is used as a method of family planning." The comment contends that pro-abortion administrations have turned Title X into an exclusive funding stream for the administrations' political supporters in the abortion industry.

The comment also charges HHS with duplicity regarding conscience laws, noting that while the proposed rule pays lip service to conscience laws in the preamble, "The legally controlling text of the rule, however, rails against the declining of referring for abortion and in fact requires referrals."

The legally controlling text of the proposed rule stipulates that "Each project supported under this part must …offer pregnant clients the opportunity to be provided information and counseling regarding … pregnancy termination."

The proposed rule is available here:

CMA's comment is available at

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