Federal Appeals Court Upholds Federal Protection for Pro-Life Medical Professionals
WASHINGTON, November 15, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A federal appeals court yesterday upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by a pro-abortion group challenging the “Weldon Amendment.” The Weldon Amendment is a federal statute that prohibits the federal government or state and local governments receiving certain federal aid from discriminating against medical professionals who refuse to perform or refer for abortions.
“Doctors and nurses should not be forced to participate in abortions against their religious beliefs or conscience. Under the banner of ‘choice,’ the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA) asserted a supposed right to do this, but the court didn’t buy it,” said Casey Mattox, litigation counsel for CLS’s Center for Law & Religious Freedom. “This decision turns back the effort to enshrine abortion as a right above even the First Amendment.”
NFPRHA challenged the Weldon Amendment just days after it was first signed into law in December 2005. After a federal district court upheld the law, NFPRHA appealed, arguing that the Weldon Amendment was too vague to enforce and that their member organizations had a constitutional right to force medical professionals to provide abortion referrals.
The ruling held that NFPRHA lacked standing to challenge the Weldon Amendment.
The Christian Medical Association and American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, represented by attorneys from ADF and CLS’s Center for Law & Religious Freedom, intervened to defend the Weldon Amendment on behalf of members of the two medical associations: over 18,000 pro-life doctors, nurses, physician assistants, and other medical professionals across the country.
CMA and AAPLOG, along with the Fellowship of Christian Physician Assistants, are also defending the Weldon Amendment in California ex. rel. Bill Lockyer v. United States, a case pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Together, ADF, America’s largest legal alliance, and CLS, America’s premier network of Christian legal professionals, defend religious liberty, human life, marriage, and the family.
The decision in National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association v. Gonzales from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit can be read at www.telladf.org/UserDocs/Gonzales-NFPRHAopinion.pdf