Friday, February 18, 2011

Obama Weakens Christians' 'Conscience Clause'

The Obama administration Friday deeply cut a rule protecting U.S. health workers refusing to provide care they find objectionable for personal or religious reasons.

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department wiped out nearly all of the so-called conscience rule put into effect in the waning days of President George W. Bush's administration.

For background, read Obama's Health Care Plans Include Religious Discrimination

-- From "Conscience rule drastically narrowed" posted at UPI 2/18/11

The [Bush] rule has been interpreted as allowing workers to refuse to perform a number of medical services, including providing the emergency contraceptive pill, treating homosexuals and prescribing contraception to single women.

The new regulation, which goes into effect in 30 days, leaves in place long-standing federal protections for workers who object to performing abortions or sterilizations and retains the Bush rule's process for workers to file complaints.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Bush Health-Care Measure Reversed" by Janet Adamy, Wall Street Journal 2/18/11

The Obama administration on Friday peeled back a rule defining when health-care workers can refuse to administer treatments they find morally objectionable, reversing a final act of George W. Bush's administration.

The Bush measure said that a wide variety of health-care workers could object to participating in abortions if they had moral objections to the procedure. Hospitals and clinics faced a loss of federal funds if they failed to uphold what the Bush administration termed workers' "right of conscience."

Liberal groups opposed the rule, saying it could open the door to a broader denial of services. They said it could allow insurance companies to deny claims for birth-control pills or enable hospitals to refuse emergency contraception to victims of rape.

While there was little evidence that such denials were happening with any frequency, the Obama administration said it needed to act to prevent ambiguity. It said decades of law already protect workers from participating in abortions if they don't wish to.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Obama Admin Weakens Protections for Pro-Life Medical Workers" by Steven Ertelt, 2/18/11

Obama officials put a new rule in place that leaves in place protections on abortion but offers no protection for medical workers who have moral or religious objections to dispensing or giving to women the Plan B drug or other emergency contraception that could act in some cases as an abortion drug.

“The administration has made changes in a vital civil rights regulation without evidence or justification,” [Dr. J. Scott Ries, speaking for the 16,000-member Christian Medical Association] told “The administration presented no evidence of any problems in healthcare access, prescriptions or procedures that have occurred in the two years since the original regulation’s enactment that would justify any change in this protective regulation.”

“The Obama administration’s regulatory action today diminishes the civil rights that protect conscientious physicians and other healthcare professionals against discrimination. Any weakening of protections against discrimination against life-affirming healthcare professionals ultimately threatens to severely worsen patient access to health care,” the pro-life doctor said.

National survey results show that over nine of ten faith-based physicians, who are among the most likely to be serving the poor and those in medically underserved areas, indicate they would rather leave the profession if denied the ability to practice medicine according to conscientiously held ethical standards. Survey results also indicate that 20% of faith-based medical students say they are “not pursuing a career in Obstetrics or Gynecology” because of perceived discrimination and coercion in that field.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.