Saturday, December 20, 2008

Care Net Applauds New Conscience Protections for Health Care Providers

Care Net Applauds New Conscience Protections for Health Care Providers

LANSDOWNE, VA, Dec. 18 /Christian Newswire/ -- Care Net President Melinda Delahoyde praised the Department of Health and Human Services for issuing regulations that strengthen existing laws and provide protection to pro-life physicians and other healthcare professionals who conscientiously object to perform or refer for abortion.

"Care Net and its national network of pregnancy centers rely on the availability of health care providers who have the right to conscientiously object to abortion," Delahoyde said. "These health care providers - RNs, nurse practitioners, and physicians - provide critical free services at pregnancy centers to those facing unplanned pregnancies and other health concerns. Without these new conscience protections, fewer health care providers would be available to serve this at-risk population in our nation's pregnancy centers." Among Care Net's affiliated pregnancy centers, more than 450 of 1,100 offer medical services and operate under the supervision of a pro- life physician.

Care Net's National Medical Consultant Dr. Sandy Christiansen was interviewed by CNN and testified before the President's Council on Bioethics about her own experience of discrimination as a pro-life OB-Gyn. "I've shared my story of discrimination because I've been concerned about our future - that young people with conscientious objections to abortion would start to avoid the field of obstetrics and gynecology," Dr. Christiansen said. "These new regulations send a message to both current and aspiring health care providers that their personal code of ethics, their conscience, and their adherence to the Hippocratic Oath matter and will be protected."

When Dr. Christiansen was an intern, she was denied operating room privileges by her chief resident who explained it was because she was not "working hard doing the abortions" like others and thus would not get that "perk." Later, as a chief resident, she was humiliated by the attending physician in front of her team of residents, interns and students when she would not perform an abortion on a patient whose baby was diagnosed with Down's syndrome. Dr. Christiansen was accused of abandoning her patient and shirking her responsibilities, even though she made arrangements with another physician to oversee the patient's care. Not once were Dr. Christiansen's faith-based convictions validated in these experiences or was she informed of her rights according to existing law to protect against this kind of discrimination.

Dr. Christiansen currently serves as medical director of Care Net Pregnancy Center of Frederick, MD, which offers free services every year to hundreds of women facing unplanned pregnancies.

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