A U.S. federal appeals court has upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by a pro-abortion group challenging an amendment that protects pro-life medical professionals from discrimination.The Weldon Amendment, which was signed into law in December 2005, is a federal statute that bars the U.S. government or state and local government entities receiving certain federal aid from discriminating against doctors and other medical professionals who refuse to perform abortions or who refuse to refer patients for abortions. The amendment faced a legal hurdle just days after it was enacted -- a court challenge brought by the pro-abortion National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA).
Pro-family leader Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC), is
commending the legal defense that helped secure a pro-life victory in National Family Planning and Reproductive Health v. Gonzales. "While the number of doctors who oppose abortion has increased," he observes, it is thanks to attorneys like those at the Alliance Defense Fund and the Christian Legal Society that these pro-life medical professionals' vulnerability to lawsuits has not increased as well.
"The targets of the abortion movement have grown well beyond the unborn and now include pro-life doctors and nurses," the FRC spokesman points out. "These days, they too need protection -- from members of their own profession."
The Weldon Amendment "protects those who, based on personal convictions, refuse to perform or refer for abortions," Perkins notes. He agrees with the legal representatives who defended the statute, he says, "that doctors should not be held hostage to perform procedures that violate their religious beliefs."