Will the Obama Administration now rescind the HSS Regulation that guarantees a physician's conscience rights in medical decision making, or not?
The fight for Physicians' Conscience Rights is on-going, urgent and vital to the practice of medicine in the United States and throughout the world.
March 7 2009
Physicians Free to say No threatenedThe Obama administration published its proposal to completely rescind and eliminate the conscience-protecting regulations that the Bush administration passed in January 2009:
Seven states, including California, Illinois and Connecticut, and two family-planning groups have filed lawsuits challenging the Bush rule, arguing that it sacrifices the health of patients to the religious beliefs of medical providers.
President Obama -- a longtime supporter of abortion rights -- overturned a controversial ban on U.S. funding for international aid groups that provide abortion services in January 2009.
For more than 30 years, federal law has allowed doctors and nurses to decline to provide abortion services as a matter of conscience, a protection that is not subject to rule making. In promulgating the rule last year, then-Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said it was necessary to address discrimination in the medical field. Leavitt criticized "the development of an environment in the healthcare field that is intolerant of individual conscience, certain religious beliefs, ethnic and cultural traditions, and moral convictions."
If after 30 days of comments the administration throws out the Bush rule, it would have to begin a new rule-making process to enact a replacement.
August 21 2008
US Health Department Protects Physicians' Conscience Rights - Physicians Free to say No
The stated goals of the regulation are:
(1) educate the public and health care providers on the obligations imposed, and protections afforded, by federal law;
(2) work with State and local governments and other recipients of funds from the Department to ensure compliance with the nondiscrimination requirements embodied in the Church Amendments, PHS Act § 245, and the Weldon Amendment;
(3) when such compliance efforts prove unsuccessful, enforce these nondiscrimination laws through the various Department mechanisms, to ensure that Department funds do not support morally coercive or discriminatory practices or policies in violation of federal law; and
(4) otherwise take an active role in promoting open communication within the healthcare industry, and between providers and patients, fostering a more inclusive, tolerant environment in the health care industry than may currently exist.”
The regulations make no judgment about the desirability of abortion or other controversial procedures, nor do they restrict or prohibit provision of such services by any private or government entity. They are directed solely at preventing discrimination against physicians or health care entities that do not wish to facilitate procedures or services to which they object for reasons of conscience.