Pro-Life Docs Need Not Perform Abortions: Board

Body clarifies ruling that had feds, physicians worried about certifications
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 20, 2008 2:24 PM CDT
Anti-abortion protesters rally on the Capitol steps as they mark the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2008, in Olympia, Wash. At least 2,000 anti-abortion...   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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(Newser) – Obstetrician/gynecologists who don’t want to deal with abortions don’t have to, the certifying board for their specialty said today, responding to Bush administration fears that the board was going to refuse to certify doctors who decline to perform them or refer patients to someone who does. The US health secretary became alarmed after a the group's ethics committee  issued a opinion that doctors in the field should provide “standard reproductive services” or refer those patients to someone else, NPR reports.

Not so, the director said; ethics guidelines have nothing to do with certification. The Health Department “took two and two and came up with five,”  he said. He noted that the board accepts abortion as a divisive issue, and removed the topic from oral exams a decade ago. But he added that he personally didn’t disagree with the November guidelines.