U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK), a practicing physicians who has delivered more than 4,000 babies, offered an amendment to the 2010 budget resolution to ensure that funds made available through the budget's $634 billion health care reserve fund will not be used to violate the conscience of health care providers or coerce patients into seeing pre-selected doctors or enroll in a particular health care plan.
The amendment was an effort to preserve the conscience protection rule which guarantees the freedom of health care providers, including physicians, hospitals and insurance providers, to serve the public without violating their moral and religious convictions. The Obama administration has taken steps to rescind the rule. The amendment failed by a vote of 41 to 56.
"Like many pro-life doctors, I would go to jail before being forced to perform procedures, such as abortion, that violate my deepest held convictions. Medical ethics is based on the principle of First, do no harm.' I will fight to protect this Constitutional right as a physician and as a senator. Discriminating against health care providers by requiring them to disregard their deeply held beliefs is assault on liberty," Dr. Coburn said.