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Christian Medical & Dental Associations responds to Biden Administration HHS rule change

Bristol, Tenn.—August 1, 2022—The 16,000-member Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), which is the nation’s largest faith-based professional healthcare association, today announced its disapproval of the disastrous move by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to further alter Section 1557 and redefine sex discrimination so broadly that it threatens the ability of members to practice medicine according to solid medical evidence as well as their faith principles.

These changes continue to define sex discrimination as refusal to participate in altering a patient’s secondary sex characteristics to align with those of the opposite biological sex using medical or surgical means, a controversial therapy with limited supporting evidence, especially when used in minors.

“Evidence-based medical care forms the basis of how our members care for their patients,” said CMDA Senior Vice President of Bioethics and Public Policy Jeffrey Barrows, DO, MA (Ethics). “This change will promote care that is NOT based on quality medical evidence and is disastrous for our patients and for our profession.”

With these appalling and questionable updates from HHS, Section 1557 now stands in complete opposition to the long-held traditions of protecting the religious freedom of American citizens, as it:

  • Redefines discrimination “on the basis of sex” to include sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), gender transition, sex stereotypes, reproductive health decisions and termination of pregnancy as protected.
  • Requires healthcare professionals (regardless of their conscience freedoms or sincerely held religious beliefs) to perform or assist in gender reassignment surgeries, prescribe puberty blockers or cross-sex hormone treatment on children including any associated cosmetic procedure and perform or assist with abortions.
  • Requires insurance plans and some employers to pay for experimental procedures/treatments especially on children.

CMDA CEO Mike Chupp, MD, FACS, observed, “We are committed to serving every patient with compassion and competence, but that’s far different from saying we will do any procedure or fill any prescription regardless of ethical or medical concerns. Healthcare professionals of faith and conscience are committed to the mantra of ‘Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere but NOT Anything!’ Without conscience freedom in healthcare, many healthcare professionals of faith will be forced to modify the scope of their practice or quit medicine altogether. This will result in a loss of healthcare access for patients, especially for underserved and marginalized patients served by faith-based health professionals.”

“Any rule or policy put forth by the federal government that removes the ability of healthcare professionals to opt out of procedures or prescribe medications that infringe on personally held beliefs is a clear violation of the tradition of religious freedom in this country. If enacted, this rule will have a chilling effect on young people of faith who are considering a future career in medicine,” said CMDA Director of Federal Public Policy Anna Pilato.

CMDA has an ethics statement on healthcare right of conscience, which is available at www.cmda.org/ethics. This statement was developed by CMDA’s Ethics Committee and officially adopted by the organization. For more information about CMDA, visit www.cmda.org.

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