Senior White House advisor Kellyanne Conway is being outed for her 2009 affiliation with the Christian Medical and Dental Association. According to Politico, Conway advocated against forcing doctors to perform procedures they find morally objectionable.
“Who among us would want a medical professional to perform a technique or provide a service with which they were personally uncomfortable and to which they personally objected?” Conway said during a news conference where she was flanked by people in white lab coats.
Her “data” backed up her opinion that nine out of 10 medical professionals have “an inalienable right” to object to doing their job.
The issue has already taken hold in some pharmacies, where staffers will refuse to sell women birth control pills prescribed by their doctors.
Ten years after Conway’s press conference, she’s garnering results with President Donald Trump’s Health and Human Services Department instituting regulations that encourage doctors to decline care. Politico reported that the 440-page decision from HHS heavily cites Conway’s decade-old polling as well as one she did in 2011. No other surveys are quoted or even mentioned.
“This rule, and what [the Trump administration] does next to enforce it, will have a profound effect on vulnerable people nationwide,” said Georgetown Law Professor Katie Keith, who discovered the regulations. “That leaves a lot riding on very old survey data — and the assumptions that HHS officials make because of it.”
The rule could also fly in the face of the Hippocratic Oath, which doctors are required to adhere to when licensed by medical boards. It serves as the oldest living oath, dating back to the 3rd Century. It requires, among other things, that physicians care for the ill to the best of their abilities.
Republicans like Conway have argued for the intrusion of the government in doctors’ offices for decades, though oddly labeled the landmark healthcare law The Affordable Care Act an encroachment of government in one’s health.
Trump made the announcement of the rule Thursday in a Rose Garden ceremony.
“Together, we are building a culture that cherishes the dignity and worth of human life,” he said to a group not of doctors but of religious leaders.
Experts are concerned about the law’s reliance on Conway’s polling, which was done before the ACA was enacted.
“In total, 91 percent of respondents reported that they ‘would rather stop practicing medicine altogether than be forced to violate [their] conscience,’” the administration’s rule claims, citing Conway’s information.
Though, oddly, Conway stressed that her findings were “not intended to be representative of the entire medical profession.” The statement is an admission she may have only polled respondents who agreed with her ideology.