The Equality Act and the Untimely Death of the Hippocratic Oath
originally published at Live Action News, 3/5/21
“I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.” This is part of the original Hippocratic Oath, which all physicians were once required to take. But those days are long gone. Today, health care workers who attempt to practice Hippocratic, pro-life ethics are openly discriminated against, and if the Equality Act becomes law, the situation will only get worse.
Conscience protections chipped away over time
Efforts to erode conscience protections for health care workers in the United States have been in the works for some time. Back in 2005, former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich ordered pharmacists to fill all prescriptions — including those for potentially abortifacient contraception and emergency contraception — regardless of their moral objections. Washington Governor Christine Gregoire issued a similar order in 2006, which was litigated all the way to the Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case and allowed a lower court’s ruling in favor of the law to stand. And as of 2019, 13 states limited the rights of doctors to refuse to perform an abortion “in emergencies” (even though deliberately killing a preborn human being is never medically necessary), and three other states require doctors to refer women to abortionists if they refuse to do the job themselves.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. In 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services received over 1,300 complaints of on-the-job conscience violations from health care workers. And an informal survey conducted by the Christian Medical Association found that over 41% of its members had been “pressured to compromise Biblical or ethical convictions.” Freedom2care.org maintains a log of conscience violations in the health care field. Its website has a disturbing number of personal accounts of on-the-job persecution for pro-life convictions, up to and including termination.
Pressure put on future physicians to participate in killing
Medical students, interns, and residents appear to be under a great amount of pressure to assist with abortions, based on the number of such reports on Freedom2care. Drs. John L Rochester, Devid Zelis, and Mark D. Cheboygan all relate tales of being pressured into assisting with abortions at various points during their medical training. Then there’s Dr. Mark J. Heulitt, who refused to participate in abortions and was chastised in a utility room by a nurse co-worker one day. He wrote, “She pulled [a] towel off of a basin which contained an aborted fetus. She looked me straight in the eye and said, ‘What are you afraid of — this is just tissue,’ and told me to ‘grow up.’”
Other medical students and residents have been forced out of the ob/gyn specialty, out of the medical field entirely — or simply fired — because of their pro-life positions. Sharon F., for example, said she switched specialties because it “was made clear” to her that she “would not be welcome in an OB-GYN residency” if she refused to commit abortions. Another resident, who requested anonymity, was fired for giving a case presentation on abortion complications and was later suspended by Kaiser for assisting teen patients who were being forced to undergo abortions by their families.
Nurses face loss of employment for refusal to kill
It is also extremely common for nurses to be pressured to violate their pro-life convictions. Heather S. and her colleagues were told by their employer, “As nurses, you don’t have a choice” when it comes to participating in abortion. Cathy de Carlo and a nurse at the University of Vermont Medical Center were compelled to assist in abortions — de Carlo has had nightmares ever since. Fe Vinoya and Beryl Otieno Ngoje were given the choice: participate in abortions or be terminated, whereas Sandra Mendoza, Jill Stanek, Janice Turner, and Karen Kelly were summarily fired. Countless others were forced out or simply quit rather than face the disdain and disrespect of their co-workers because they refused to kill preborn human beings.
These are merely the people who were brave enough to speak up. How many others have suffered in silence? If pro-abortion lawmakers have their way, all pro-life healthcare professionals will soon be silenced, as the Equality Act “consider[s] pregnancy as a ‘medical condition’ to be treated … [and] the preborn child … as the equivalent of an ‘illness’ that needs curing,” as noted previously by Live Action News. Consequently, “refusal to commit abortions may be labeled as pregnancy discrimination,” opening up pro-life health care workers to lawsuits, termination, and perhaps worse. Countless medical professionals will be forced to kill, or change careers.
The Equality Act passed in the House on February 25, 2021, and has been forwarded to the Senate. This bill is merely a harbinger of totalitarianism posing as a beacon of social justice.