Imagine an America in which a summa cum laude medical graduate interviews at countless medical schools but cannot find one that will tolerate her Christian faith, a faith-based pro-life clinic faces a financial crisis after having its federal Title X funds stripped away, and federal agencies discriminate against hospitals and clinics nationwide for refusing to kowtow to the administration’s extremist stances on abortion, sexuality, and marriage.
That reality is already well on its way here, and will only get worse with the proposed elimination of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) conscience protections for health professionals. President Joe Biden’s HHS announced last week that the agency is in the “rulemaking process” of rolling back former President Donald Trump’s protections for medical personnel whose faith prevents them from performing procedures like abortion.
Health Care Is Already Hostile to Faith
Already, the three above examples are happening.
“I was top of my class (summa cum laude) as an undergrad at UC Berkeley, had an MCAT score above the average of all the medical schools I applied to, and I had participated in many extracurriculars,” reports one young woman. “I think I applied to essentially all of the medical schools in my home state of California. I did not get even a single interview–except for the faith-based school of Loma Linda.”
In a national scientific survey of faith-based health professionals that I constructed in 2019, 3 in 5 respondents agreed with the poll statement that it is common that “doctors, medical students or other health-care professionals face discrimination for declining to participate in activities or provide medical procedures to which they have moral or religious objections.”
Pro-life clinics like the example above will be at risk to lose federal Title X family planning funds thanks to the Biden administration’s scheme, announced in April 2021, that would reverse a Trump administration policy and require grantees to make abortion referrals: “Each project supported under this part must … offer pregnant clients the opportunity to be provided information and counseling regarding … pregnancy termination.”
The abortion referral requirement affects pro-life clinics such as Staten Island, N.Y.’s Beacon Christian Community Health Center. Beacon won an award under the Trump rule but no longer receives Title X funds to aid its low-income patients. The Biden administration is moving to effectively reserve those funds for its abortion business political supporters.
Finally, federal agencies are already working to discriminate against hospitals and clinics that don’t match their ideology, eliminating conscientious objectors. Biden’s HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra has signaled he will cease the prosecution of conscience law violators.
As The Federalist has documented, Biden’s HHS has torn down the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, stripped the HHS Office of Civil Rights’ authority to enforce conscience and religious objections, dismissed a case of forced abortion participation, assured abortionists that “We have your back,” and rescinded conscience waivers that had allowed federal grants to faith-based adoption and foster care agencies.
Biden Is Working to Make the Health Care Industry Even More Godless
The Biden administration now is churning out rules that aggressively enforce its ideology on abortion; religious exemptions; insurance coverage of contraceptives and abortifacients; sterilization; allowing men in women’s sports, bathrooms, and locker rooms; compelled speech; and Title IX sexual harassment due process protections. These ideologically driven restrictions could slam the door on thousands of pro-life hospitals and clinics as well as highly effective faith-based social programs for adoption and foster care, food and clothing distribution, mental health service, ex-offender programs, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, marriage and family counseling, and teen pregnancy prevention programs.
Such animosity toward persons of faith and pro-life convictions would only accelerate and exacerbate the long-predicted physician shortage crisis, leaving poor and marginalized patients without the faith-based care on which they had depended.
At the top of the administration’s list of ideological mandates, however, is abortion, an issue on which self-described “good Catholic” Joe Biden apparently suffers from catechetical dementia. In 2006, Biden proudly proclaimed, “I do not vote for funding for abortion.”
But in his 2019 presidential run, he dropped his long-standing support for the Hyde Amendment that prohibits most federal funding for abortion. His administration’s blitzkrieg of rules is now embedding abortion ideology even further in government policy while essentially eliminating funding for abortion opponents.
The administration’s anti-religion ideological purge threatens to create what Richard John Neuhaus warned of in 1984 — a naked public square, a government devoid of religious participation, values, and moral influence. In particular, excluding people of faith from health care bodes severe consequences.
Both our 2019 national survey of faith-based health professionals and another in 2009 revealed that 91 percent of respondents said they either strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement, “I would rather stop practicing medicine altogether than be forced to violate my conscience.” They cannot separate their faith-motivated mission to care for the poor from their faith commitment to honor the sanctity of human life.
Left unchecked, the Biden administration may well succeed in driving the pro-life and faith communities out of partnerships with the federal government. The victims of the resulting naked public square will be millions of patients, the poor, and other needy and suffering individuals served by faith-based health and social services programs.