Freedom of Faith and Conscience | Right of Conscience
HHS Mandate Terms Unacceptable
Washington, DC - February 1, 2013--The Christian Medical Association (CMA, www.cmda.org.), the nation's largest faith-based association of physicians, today called the administration's policy announcement regarding its contraceptives and sterilization mandate "unacceptable," noting that the ruling still flouts the First Amendment.
CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens said, "This latest version of the contraceptives and sterilization mandate remains unacceptable. Since when does the government get to pick and choose which groups will get to enjoy First Amendment protections? Our founders intended the First Amendment to protect every American's freedom to act according to one's conscience. They didn't specify that only groups deemed religious will be afforded this protection; freedom of conscience applies equally to all Americans."
Dr. Gene Rudd, CMA Exec. VP, noted, "The administration fails to understand that many employers and individual Americans, regardless of a religious label or not, maintain strong conscience objections to participating in any, way, shape or form in a plan that promotes pills that the FDA says can cause the demise of a living human embryo--a developing baby in her earliest stage."
Dr. Stevens added, "It would appear that the administration is trying to diffuse the pressure from federal courts around the country by throwing a sop to religious groups. If administration officials think that this action will somehow cause us to back down and accept the terms of surrender, well, that's just not going to happen. We all plan to stand united in the fight to ensure that everyone's First Amendment freedoms of religion and conscience are protected."
"As Thomas Jefferson said, '[O]ur rules can have authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God.'"1
1Notes on the State of Virginia (1787), Query 17, p. 159, ed. William Peden (1954).