The Equality Act Targets the Faith and Medical Communities for Ideology-Based Prosecution
April 1, 2021
by Jonathan Imbody
The Washington Examiner recently published my op-ed on the radical Equality Act. This ideologically coercive and discriminatory bill, which has already passed the House and now is on the Senate calendar, will radically impact your professional career and your ability to live out your faith.
The commentary is below, followed by excerpts of a CMDA letter to U.S. Senators and of written testimony submitted by several CMDA members.
The Equality Act Would Trample on Doctors’ Religious Freedom
by Jonathan Imbody
Published in the Washington Examiner, March 29, 2021
Imagine you are a family physician who entered medical school motivated by the teachings of your faith: to help and bring healing to others.
In medical school, you determined to adhere to the “do no harm” ethical bedrock of the Hippocratic oath: “I will use treatment to help the sick, according to my ability and judgment, but I will never use it to injure or wrong them.”
Throughout your medical career, you have treated all your patients with compassion and respect, and you have followed scientific evidence in exercising medical judgment.
But then, one fateful day, the radical federal Equality Act takes effect nationwide.
A 9-year-old boy enters your office and wails that he hates being a boy and demands to become a girl. That demand raises the specter of administering life-altering hormonal treatments that increase the risk of infertility and stroke, followed by elective surgery to remove healthy body parts and create new ones — all to fit the ephemeral preference of a 9-year-old.
Your medical judgment against transitioning draws upon scientific evidence that gender dysphoria in children typically resolves within a few years. But under the Equality Act, any counsel against gender transitioning now traps you inside a thorny bush of legal hazards that trigger sex discrimination charges.
Participating in a gender transition also would violate your faith convictions. But the Equality Act expressly nullifies any application of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act’s protection for conscientious objectors.
You begin to realize that the Equality Act has taken control of virtually every aspect of your medical career:
You put yourself at legal risk if you simply attempt to explore patients’ possible reasons for gender dysphoria, which may be strongly influenced by sexual abuse or bullying.
Neither you nor your medical institution may protect your patients’ privacy by maintaining sex-restricted public restrooms or changing rooms.
When you volunteer at the local women’s domestic violence shelter, you and the shelter risk lawsuits and closure simply for keeping transgender individuals with male biology out of the sleeping quarters of women who’ve been sexually abused and battered by men.
At the pro-life pregnancy center where you serve as medical director, lawsuit threats now arise under the Equality Act, which raises pregnancy and abortion issues as triggers for sex discrimination litigation.
As team physician for your daughter’s track team, you and your daughter now must watch biologically advantaged males dominate every event, reversing decades of advances and scholarship opportunities for female athletes.
Trapped in the untenable choice of submitting to the government’s coercion or violating all that you believe, you hang up your lab coat and walk out of the healing career to which you devoted your life.
As the new law quickly spreads its intolerant tentacles throughout the country, discrimination charges and lawsuits squeeze out of medicine tens of thousands of your colleagues who share life-affirming moral and ethical commitments. As the Equality Act forces these conscientious physicians who serve the needy out of medicine, millions of marginalized patients lose their access to healthcare.
This Equality Act nightmare is now just one or two votes in the Senate away from reality, having passed the House in February. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the bill March 17, two witnesses focused on the Equality Act’s threats against women.
Attorney Mary Rice Hasson noted, “Biology also makes females uniquely vulnerable when safety and privacy are compromised. When gender identity is privileged over biological sex, females lose; it’s that simple.”
Journalist Abigail Shrier illustrated the point, recounting how male prison inmates recently exploited an Equality Act-style state law to transfer to the women’s prison. The result: rape. Shrier concluded, “Gender ideology, which is at the heart of this bill, is misogyny in progressive clothing.”
People appalled at this dangerous and discriminatory bill had better act quickly to strengthen the Senate backstop. Otherwise, we will witness the suppression of science in medicine, the strangling of religious freedom, the loss of women’s and girls’ rights, and the imposition of state ideology over individual freedom of thought and speech.
CMDA letter to U.S. Senators
“We oppose this bill as health professionals who endeavor to treat all patients with respect and compassion, in accordance with sound medical judgment and ethics.”
– Freedom2Care and Christian Medical Association
Written testimony submitted by CMDA members
Dr. Regina Frost
“Just as my conscience requires me to treat the women in my care as I would want to be treated, it also requires me not to do things to them that are immoral or against my best medical judgment.” Read more…
Dr. Joy Draper
“I serve all patients, no matter their background, religion, political views, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status.” Read more…
Dr. Andre Van Mol
“National polling shows nearly all health professionals of faith like myself care for all patients in need, even when we cannot validate their choices. Conscience protections are vital to our practice of medicine.” Read more…