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Supreme Court of the United States

When State Law Seeks to Force Healthcare Professionals to Harm, Not Heal

By Sarah Kramer posted on:
October 17, 2017

States across the country are taking aim at the freedom of conscience for healthcare professionals.

Many healthcare professionals have committed their careers to restoring health and protecting life at all stages, from conception until natural death. Being forced to practice healthcare in a way that violates this commitment presents insurmountable ethical and moral challenges.

In fact, federal law recognizes this conflict and protects the right of healthcare professionals to practice consistently with their conscience.

Yet, states across the country have passed laws that would force healthcare professionals to abandon this commitment and, in some cases, promote practices that directly conflict with the objective to do no harm.

  • In Illinois, the governor signed a law that forces pro-life doctors and pregnancy centers to promote abortion and explain the “benefits” of abortion to the women that they serve. This is morally unacceptable, and it violates the state constitution. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys argued before the court Friday on behalf of the Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford.
  • In California, the state implemented a similar law that forces pro-life centers to advertise that women can receive free abortions. Last week, ADF asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review this case and strike down this law that forces pro-life healthcare professionals and pregnancy centers to speak a message and promote a practice that they have dedicated their careers to countering.
  • In Vermont, state law requires that healthcare professionals counsel their patients that assisted suicide is an “option” for palliative care. It goes even a step further and requires that doctors refer their patients to someone who will prescribe death-inducing drugs. ADF is defending the right of healthcare professionals in Vermont to opt out of offering and referring for this “option” based on reasons on conscience.

Life matters at every stage. But these laws force doctors and medical centers to promote practices that contradict their mission – practices that end life. For healthcare professionals who have dedicated their careers to preserving and protecting life, that’s not an option.


The Government Should Never Force Healthcare Professionals to Violate Their Convictions 


If healthcare professionals cannot be guided by their ethical and moral convictions, that should concern us all. Alliance Defending Freedom has put together a free legal guide for healthcare professionals who wish to understand what their rights are. To download your free copy, visit the link below. 


Sarah Kramer

Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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