Religious Freedom in Healthcare
Family Policy Alliance is dedicated to preserving the freedom to believe, share, and live out our faith – publicly as well as privately. Our faith compels us to live differently, including in how we go about seeking and providing medical care.
Healthcare professionals, health insurance companies, hospitals, and even private employers have the right to live out their faith in their practice of medicine, provision of prescriptions, or insurance coverage. When the Obama Administration attempted to force nuns to provide contraception and Christian-owned company Hobby Lobby to cover abortion-inducing drugs, it became clear that more work needed to be done in the area of religious freedom.
Family Policy Alliance supports policies that protect the right of healthcare professionals, employers and insurers to decline to participate in or cover procedures with which they disagree based on their faith. We work to protect taxpayers from being forced to fund abortion and “gender reassignment procedures.” And we advance policies that ensure families can choose medical and mental healthcare that align with their faith and values.
The Long Arm of Government Overreach
The battle for religious freedom in the healthcare industry primarily is over whether government bodies can:
force Americans to participate in or fund abortions, contraceptives, assisted reproduction, assisted suicide, euthanasia, transgender procedures, and more; or
limit Americans’ access to certain kinds of basic talk therapy.
Americans have the God-given and constitutional right to freely exercise their faith at home and in public such as at work and in school. This means that healthcare professionals should not be forced to choose between their calling to their profession and their faith. For example:
To whom do Christians give their ultimate allegiance?
In Matthew 22, Jesus is confronted by some plotting Pharisees trying to trap Him. They asked: “Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” Looking at the denarius, Jesus replied: “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” When they replied “Caesar’s,” Jesus concluded: “Therefore, render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
With this single statement, Jesus states there is a role for government and a role for God. However, did Jesus say they were equal? Not at all! Yet, as Christ-followers we know that we are commanded to submit to governing authorities for all authority has been established by God. And to resist authority is to resist what God has established (Rom. 13:1).
The challenge presents itself when the two seem to conflict. Scripture contains several examples of believers facing a choice between government and God and what to do. Here are just two:
Daniel and his friends — While in exile, they face several conflicts between obedience to ruling authorties and obedience to God: to eat the Babylonian diet or abstain, to bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s statue or refuse, whether to pray or be thrown into the lions’ den. In each case, Daniel and his friends refused to violate their faith-informed conscience by disobeying God in obedience to an earthly authority. In all cases, God blessed their faithfulness.
Peter and the apostles — When ordered by the Sanhedrin—the religious rulers at the time—to stop preaching about Jesus, Peter and the apostles said, “We must obey God rather than men.” For this, they were beaten, but the Bible records, “Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name,” (Acts 5:41). Peter and the apostles endured punishment rather that defy God’s command—and they rejoiced over it!
Christians today are confronted with these choices more and more whereby submission to earthly authority conflicts with Heavenly authority. Yet, Christians have a duty to God above all other authority (Mt. 28:18, Jn. 19:11). At Family Policy Alliance, we advance policy to ensure that patients, families, medical professionals, and insurers have the freedom under earthly authority to participate in our nation’s healthcare systems without violating their duty to God’s ultimate authority.
It would be difficult to find a topic where religious freedom is more aggressively targeted than abortion. Doctors, healthcare professionals, teachers and more must be able to freely express their disagreement with abortion and under no circumstances should they be forced by the government or their employer to perform an abortion or teach that abortion is acceptable.
In the 2019 legislative session, New Mexico legislators attempted to repeal the rights of doctors and nurses to decline performing abortions based on religious and moral grounds.1 Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico, along with a strong coalition of pro-life activists and leaders, were able to prevent this repeal from happening. If laws like these are repealed, doctors would be at risk of losing their medical license and even facing criminal prosecution for refusing to perform abortions. Although 45 states have conscience protections, these only apply to doctors working in hospitals that receive state funding. Federal protections for our medical health professionals have also been very weak.
SEE IF YOUR STATE PROTECTS THE CONSCIENCE RIGHTS OF MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS.
Thankfully, through the work of Family Policy Alliance and our allies, federal protections are getting stronger. Together, we have supported efforts of the Trump Administration and its agencies in vigorously defending religious freedom. The Trump Administration has made clear that protecting freedom of conscience for Americans is a priority. In May 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued substantial rule changes ensuring that healthcare workers could not be forced to perform abortions or be fired for declining abortions, and that employers could not be forced to provide insurance coverage for abortions.
Going further, under the direction of President Trump, HHS has created the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division within the Office for Civil Rights. HHS’s Director of the Office of Civil Rights stated it is an appalling injustice for a government to “require religious organizations and hospitals to place their religious identity on the shelf when it is often their religious identity that drives them to offer their gifts to the world [like] giving free health services with love and care to those that need it most.”
1New Mexico House Bill 51, 2018
It is our responsibility as the Body of Christ to ensure that patients, families, medical professionals, and insurers have the freedom to participate in our nation’s healthcare systems without violating God’s ultimate authority.
Will you stand for God’s Truth with us?
In the best interest of the patient or politics?
Four examples of how the progressive political agenda has come before the health and well-being of the patient and challenges the religious freedom of the healthcare provider.
1 Drugs advertised as “emergency contraception” that are taken immediately after unprotected sex and are intended to prevent ovulation, but which can also prevent implantation if fertilization has already occurred.
2 HHS is the government arm that ensures all government agencies are complying with the Affordable Care Act through its own rules and regulations
What's Happening in Healthcare
We never stop in the defense of life, the family, and your religious freedom. Keep up-to-date with what is happening across the nation, and learn how you can join us in taking action.