Pro-life healthcare groups fight attempts to criminalize right of conscience

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The 9th Circuit granted a motion to intervene filed by the Alliance Defense Fund on behalf of pro-life groups:

SAN FRANCISCO The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled Friday that California healthcare professionals must be allowed to intervene in a lawsuit to defend their right to refuse to provide abortions and abortion referrals. Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund and the Christian Legal Society represent members of the Christian Medical Association, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Fellowship of Christian Physicians Assistants.

The choice of doctors to obey their conscience should not be a crime, said Casey Mattox, litigation counsel with CLSs Center for Law & Religious Freedom. California wants to criminalize the decision of a doctor not to provide abortions. The Weldon Amendment prohibits them from doing that. We stand to defend the interest of thousands of doctors and other medical professionalsin California and around the countrywho choose not to be involved in destroying human life.

The 9th Circuits decision follows a hearing last month where Mattox argued that the three pro-life groups must be allowed to enter as defendants in order to adequately protect their members interests by defending the constitutionality of the federal Weldon Amendment (www.telladf.org/news/story.aspx?cid=3759).

Congress passed and President Bush signed into law the Weldon Amendment in December 2004. The statute forbids state and local governments that receive federal funds from discriminating against healthcare providers because they refuse to perform or refer patients for abortions. Bill Lockyer, the attorney general of California, filed suit against the U.S. government in 2005, claiming the Weldon Amendment is unconstitutional.

The healthcare groups were denied intervention in federal district court and appealed to the 9th Circuit in December of last year.

Together, ADF, Americas largest legal alliance, and CLS, Americas premier membership organization of Christian legal professionals, defend religious liberty, human life, marriage, and the family.

more here.

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LifeNews.com has quite a bit more on this story at http://www.LifeNews.com/nat2341.html




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