Doctors of America need your help to defund Planned Parenthood and a unique opportunity is coming for Catholics to help them. A rare debate will occur at the American Medical Association (AMA) meeting in Atlanta from November 14-17. As a member of the AMA “House of Delegates” (HOD), I have attended meetings nearly twice a year since 2005. The HOD debates and passes AMA policy on a variety of health related issues. In addition to big ticket items like Obamacare, tort reform and medical practice, it is common to have debates on “fair” trade, climate change, racial health disparities, fracking, sugar in soda, gun control, and many other social issues. However, abortion (and efforts to end it) is off limits for public debate. Whenever the matter comes up, the preferred mode of all parties—even those opposed to abortion—is to avoid the debate in the name of “peace.” For too long this doctor has made a mistake and sinned in allowing silence on abortion at the AMA. I am now rectifying that situation. I am a brain and spine surgeon in St. Petersburg, Florida, a member of the Catholic Medical Association, and am proposing at the AMA a policy to end government funding of Planned Parenthood. I am calling for help and prayer from Catholics to help AMA delegates and doctors find the courage to stand against Planned Parenthood.
Whenever anything remotely related to abortion comes up, every effort is made to resolve it quietly in committee and avoid open debate. Rarely is the issue discussed, and if it is, it is to protect “abortion rights” of many parties. The AMA policy on abortion is actually very anti-life. In 1992, they stated physicians only should “encourage” children to speak to their parents about abortion but stated the AMA is against mandatory parental involvement. In 1997, the AMA complained that partial-birth abortion was not a medical term and should be referred to as “intact dilation and extraction,” although the AMA does generally oppose third trimester abortion in most cases. The AMA has gone out of its way to state that support or opposition to abortion is a personal matter for physicians and won’t do anything to influence them, stating so several times between 1990 and 2009. The AMA code of Medical Ethics has not prohibited physicians from performing abortion, since the 1970s. One redeeming policy of the AMA states that no doctor or other health care provider should be required to participate in an abortion and may withdraw from care—a merciful policy that respects conscience. That said, in June the AMA reaffirmed that it opposes legislation that denies federal funding for abortion and has supported fetal tissue research from aborted babies since 1989.
As a delegate at these meeting, I have focused on the encroachment into the patient-physician relationship by Obamacare. I have focused on protecting life when others would end life in the sick and aged labelled “futile” by the system. I have stood for conscience protection. I have worked to make sure that the Catechetically supported basis of an honest free market would operate to increase access to high quality, lower cost medical care for all. I have won many battles and lost others. But I have not as yet stood up openly against abortion, believing the consensus that it would cause political damage to our cause in other areas and make winning at the AMA more difficult. That was an immense mistake and I am reminded of the Psalmic admonition in 15:5 to “accept no bribe against the innocent.” I am done taking the bribe of political capital as millions of babies are slaughtered in our nation while the AMA supports federal funding for the same.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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So from November 14-17, I will present a resolution to the AMA HOD proposing that “the American Medical Association actively support legislation to immediately end federal and state funding of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.” You can read more about the resolution that I am presenting to defund planned here. Resolutions are the vehicle for debate and policy formation at the AMA. Ordinarily they are offered by a delegation of representatives from a state or a specialty. However, in this case I have submitted it entirely under my own name to avoid the politics that suppresses politically incorrect issues from being debated. However, that means I will be in a weaker position—relying on the consciences and good wills of other doctors at the AMA HOD to support me. It will be difficult for the vast majority of doctors at the AMA HOD to stand up and speak in favor of ending federal funding for Planned Parenthood. They will be suppressed by their delegation leadership. They will be threatened and punished politically if they stand up, and may be removed from the delegation within a year. If they even second a motion to save the issue from a parliamentary maneuver during debate, they will be treated as persona non grata. I have many friends and allies at the AMA, but some of them have expressed concerns about going “this far” at the AMA.
That is a sad statement but no surprise. Ten years of hard work at the AMA HOD has taught me that the AMA is not about what is in the best interests of patients, physicians, or health policy. Sadly, the AMA HOD is all about working for power, internal committee positions, and making deals about who will be AMA president five to ten years later. Thus, the big issues like stopping federal funding of Planned Parenthood, will be met with derision and will be subject to every conceivable political maneuver to stop it—arms will be twisted, deals will be made, and the AMA will continue to whither to irrelevance. However, if the AMA is on record as opposing government funding of Planned Parenthood, pro-abortion congressmen will have lost a key source of political cover to support Planned Parenthood.
So what can you do? Catholics who want to see the AMA take a stand should work to reach out to AMA HOD delegate doctors directly, indirectly, and through prayer.
- You can do so by contacting your state medical society by email or phone (find them on the internet). Let them know that you want the delegation from that state to support the proposed policy at the AMA to end funding of Planned Parenthood (resolution 220 at the 2015 interim meeting).
- They can contact their state society and ask for the name of the doctors that go to the AMA. Their numbers can be then looked up on the web and phone calls can be made. If you are a physician, contact me at [email protected] and I will provide you with the exact delegate names you may contact.
- Spread the word to others so they can also take action.
- Please pray. Pray for courage among the physicians/delegates who have been afraid to stand up against abortion at the AMA. Pray that they put the lives of millions of babies ahead of their own political interests. Pray that their leaders have mercy upon them should they act based on their own consciences to help defund Planned Parenthood.
At this point, it is likely that the resolution to defund Planned Parenthood will fail overwhelmingly at the AMA. But we are not called to stand up for justice only when it is easy or victory is assured. We are called to righteousness and to endure the torments that accompany witness to good over evil. The fight to defund Planned Parenthood at the AMA itself will change some hearts there and bring national attention to the ongoing moral corruption of abortion in America and the AMA’s role in supporting it. Since I began my role as a delegate to the AMA in 2005, well over 8 million babies have been killed in the womb by doctors. My chosen profession of medicine should be better than this. Doctors are supposed to save lives and end suffering. With your help and your prayers, Americas doctors will start to soften their hearts. With your help and prayers doctors can stop causing suffering and taking lives using tools that were originally designed to end suffering and save lives.
¤ Defund Planned Parenthood Resolution ¤
Whereas Planned Parenthood (officially the “Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.”) is a tax-exempt business receiving over half a billion dollars annually from U.S. Taxpayers; and
Whereas Planned Parenthood has been shown, in un-doctored, unedited videos, to actively alter abortion techniques to allow harvesting of organs from babies and earns an income from these human baby body parts; and
Whereas Planned Parenthood has been shown to engage in practices to support child sex trafficking by offering abortions, contraception and STD treatment to cover up these activities; and
Whereas Planned Parenthood still gives an award in the name of Margaret Sanger who supported racist policies and eugenics stating: “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population” and described immigrants and the poor as “human weeds,’ ‘reckless breeders,’ ‘spawning… human beings who never should have been born”; and
Whereas Planned Parenthood contributes to overall racial health disparities: 78% of Planned Parenthood clinics are located in low income and minority neighborhoods. Black abortion rates outstrip black birthrates in New York City and black babies are killed in the womb 3-4x more often than white babies; and
Whereas Planned Parenthood supporters deceptively claim that the organization provides mammograms when it does not; and
Whereas Planned Parenthood claims their primary mission is to provide “women’s health services” such as contraception, PAP Smears and STD treatment while their true business model is providing as many abortions as possible; Claims of 3% of services being abortion are based on counting multiple services to one patient and other means of statistical manipulation like unbundling a single birth control prescription into 12 visits and bundling all abortion visits into one; and
Whereas Planned Parenthood lists $1 billion in assets and can still earn excess revenue from its services without federal funds; and
Whereas contraception, STD treatment, PAP smears and true women’s health services are now easy to obtain outside Planned Parenthood through federally funded community health clinics, and through expanded health coverage provided by Obamacare and in other ways; therefore be it
Resolved that the American Medical Association actively support legislation to immediately end federal and state funding of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.