The 15,000-member Christian Medical Association, which along with other faith-based organizations had filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a U.S. Supreme Court case examining free speech and assembly rights, lauded the decision announced today in the case, McCullen v. Coakley.
“The Court simply reaffirmed that the First Amendment’s protection of peaceful speech and assembly is a cornerstone of this nation,” explained CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens. “Hopefully such decisions will begin to address the alarming growth of coercive assaults on the free speech of anyone deemed not politically correct by the government.”
The brief, submitted by the Christian Legal Society, sought to counter a Massachusetts law that had attempted to ban peaceful pro-life speech on public sidewalks, by prohibiting many citizens from entering a public street or sidewalk within 35 feet of an abortion facility.
“The fact that the government was bent on not only banning peaceful speech and assembly, but also penalizing its citizens with fines and jail, demonstrates the type of coercion that can happen when governments decide to enforce their own ideology,” stated Dr. Stevens.
I wrote a very difficult letter today. I resigned from the organization that is supposed to support Family Physicians in our education, practice management and good medical care of our patients. Instead, the American Academy of Family Physicians too often strays toward forcing its members to be complicit with controversial policies such as condoning gun control and over-the-counter contraceptive drugs, and condemnation of “reparative therapy” for homosexual patients, even when those patients are unhappy with their sexuality. I write about my main conflicts and the “final straw” in the letter:
It is with great regret that I write this letter as notice that I have decided not to renew either my Texas or American Academy of Family Practice membership. While I am still a family doctor, neither the Texas Academy of Family Practice (TAFP) nor the American Academy of Family Practice (AAFP) represent my political or ethical views.
The political, social and ethical controversies were the main reason I remained in the Academy for the last few years since I left full time practice. I hoped that I could make a difference by volunteering my time and money as an active participant in the Texas Academy, the National Conference of Special Constituencies, the AAFP list serves, the Academy Legislative meetings in DC and our annual AAFP Congress of Delegates.
From the time of Hillary Clinton’s closed meetings on healthcare to the endorsement of the passage of the ACA before it was written, the political actions of the AAFP leaders has disappointed me in Washington, DC. Our practice hassle factors have grown and grown, too often with the blessings of – and sometimes due to the experiments with alternative methods of practice by – the Academy.
The AAFP advocated for elective abortion before I joined as a Student member and I accepted that the burden of persuasion was on those of us who disagreed.
However, the Academy’s decision to advocate for the redefinition of marriage in 2012 and the refusal to reconsider the extracted Resolution on marriage neutrality at the 2013 Congress of Delegates in San Diego were the final proof that there’s no tolerance for family doctors who hold conservative politics or traditional ethics in the Academy.
Unfortunately, our TAFP spokesperson to the 2013 AAFP Reference Committee on Advocacy misrepresented the Texas Delegation’s instructions from the Directors on marriage. As I remember the discussion and vote, the intention was to allow the Texas delegates wide latitude in voting on any final form of the Resolution.
I hereby resign from the Texas Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians and as a Fellow of the AAFP.
I waited to resign after nearly 30-year membership until the last minute before being dropped (for lack of paying my annual dues). There were several reasons for my hesitancy. For one thing, I didn’t want to be an undue influence on other members when they considered whether or not to write that hefty annual check to the Academy. For another, while I will continue to work with the AAFP and the Christian Medical and Dental Association to protect the right to life, marriage, the conscience rights of doctors within the profession of medicine and the specialty of Family Medicine, I do believe that it is important to work to persuade from within the organization. The biggest problem with finally writing the letter was that I was looking for a way to somehow keep my integrity while allowing the Academy to claim to represent me.
However, now that I’ve resigned, please consider sharing my letter with your family doctor. Many of them are unaware of the policies that our professional organizations push on good doctors of today and the students and residents who will be our doctors of tomorrow.
“At what point do humans become human enough to have the right not to be killed? How should society balance protection for women who choose to abort their children with the burden imposed by that protection?
“While 62 percent of Texasi and 59 percent of U.S. votersii support a ban after 20 weeks, opponents of the bill stormed the Capitol, disrupted hearings and threatened lawsuits that will likely decide whether the law is enforced. In the middle of the noise, both sides told legislators painful stories about the effect of abortion on their lives.
“Texas’ new law bans abortion after 20 weeks, based on the possibility that the fetus can feel pain at the lower limit of viability since the lower brain structures are in place, the thalamo-cortical connections are developing and primitive memory and learning have begun.iii There are exceptions for life and permanent injury for the mother and severe fetal anomalies. The law also requires that abortion facilities meet guidelines required of facilities that do similar procedures like D&Cs. Doctors performing abortions must obtain hospital privileges within 30 miles of the facility and follow FDA guidelines for medical abortions.
“Christian doctors are in a unique position to guide the public conversation toward one of ethics, rather than popular opinion, science or law. We must also demonstrate Christ’s healing love and forgiveness to those who are in pain because of abortion.”