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  • Obama Administration: Rolling Back Conscience Protections for Doctors, Nurses

    On March 9, 2009, the Obama Administration proposed to rescind a Bush Administration regulation protecting the conscience rights of health care professionals such as doctors, nurses, and medical students. This regulation implemented longstanding federal conscience protection laws, some of which have been on the books since the 1970s. These laws prohibit discrimination against health care providers who object to participating in abortion, sterilization, or other controversial medical procedures.

    Although federal conscience protections have been in place for years, very few health care providers are aware of their rights under these laws. Even worse, HHS has done next to nothing in 35 years to enforce them. The regulation was intended to increase awareness among health care professionals of their rights, finally assign proper enforcement responsibility within HHS, and bring needed clarity to laws that have essentially been gathering dust for decades.

    Now the Obama Administration, after little more than a month in office, is proposing to rescind the regulation entirely. The proposed rescission cites concern with potential “ambiguity and confusion,” despite the fact that the Bush regulation—for the first time—clarifies the law and assigns an enforcement home within HHS, allowing health care providers to bring their complaints of discrimination. Yet the proposed rescission would do away with the progress that has been made and replace it with nothing. Because the conscience protection laws themselves aren’t going away, rescinding the regulation would result in real ambiguity and confusion.

    Why rush to roll back conscience protections for health care professionals? If the Obama Administration is genuinely concerned about potential confusion here—rather than just pandering to the extreme pro-abortion lobby—the proper course is to let the regulations operate for a while and see what happens. Instead, the proposed rescission is an attempt to impose a “gag rule” that prevents meaningful enforcement of conscience laws and leaves health care professionals in the dark about their rights.

    Marilyn Keefe, head of the National Partnership for Women and Families (a pro-abortion group), says the administration’s proposal to rescind the conscience regulation “balances the rights of patients and providers.

    Yet can Ms. Keefe or others in her organization name one instance—just one—in the last 35 years where HHS has acted on behalf of a health care provider to enforce these conscience protection laws? If rolling back conscience protections for doctors and medical students is the Obama Administration’s definition of “balance” in health care, what comes next?

    Let the Department of Health and Human Services know your support for the regulation protecting conscience rights in the health care work place. Send your comment to HHS by April 9, 2009, by visiting www.adoctorsright.com.

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    17 Responses to Obama Administration: Rolling Back Conscience Protections for Doctors, Nurses

    1. C Cheshire 78250 says:

      What can I do to help get the word out.

    2. Franklin's Lock says:

      The overwhelming audacity of the government forcing people to do things of this nature is fascism. The government’s power is absolutely out of control.

      http://franklinslocke.blogspot.com/

    3. Becky in Michigan says:

      Yes, it is sickening that the Obama Admin must nullify the law and people's rights. Even worse those practitioners, who voice their objection to a procedure due to their beliefs and ethics, are now breaking the law and can be charged as such. Whose rights are important here? People needing a procedure done can find other practitioners to perform the objectionable task, but a practitioner has no recourse' either break the law or perform the task. Obama is showing his basic beliefs regarding the sanctity of life and peoples rights.

    4. Becky in Michigan says:

      Yes, it is sickening that the Obama Admin must nullify the law and people's rights. Even worse those practitioners, who voice their objection to a procedure due to their beliefs and ethics, are now breaking the law and can be charged as such. Whose rights are important here? People needing a procedure done can find other practitioners to perform the objectionable task, but a practitioner has no recourse, either break the law or perform the task. Obama is showing his basic beliefs regarding the sanctity of life and peoples rights.

    5. Becky in Michigan says:

      Yes, it is sickening that the Obama Admin must nullify the law and people’s rights. Even worse those practitioners, who voice their objection to a procedure due to their beliefs and ethics, are now breaking the law and can be charged as such. Whose rights are important here? People needing a procedure done can find other practitioners to perform the objectionable task, but a practitioner has no recourse, either break the law or perform the task. Obama is showing his basic beliefs regarding the sanctity of life and peoples rights.

    6. DONNA, BATAVIA, IL says:

      Obama may be our President, however, he is NOT, NOT, NOT my GOD!!!!

      I would like to know how this demented, sick man sleeps with himself at night!!!!!

      Who the hell does he think he is to interfere with the Hippocratic oath doctors take!

      Oh yeah, I remember, he was taught by Reverend Wright for twenty years!!!!

      I am embarrased and ashamed that this person is our President!!!

      Obama, you are not above GOD!!!!!!!

    7. Sarah, Alexandria, V says:

      Thanks for the succint summation of the necessity of protecting provider conscience rights and the importance of the issue for healthcare professionals in the US.

      I'm encouraging the healthcare professionals in my family and network to leave comments for HHS at http://adoctorsright.com/

    8. Ricky Benton, KY says:

      These are the times that try men's souls. We must pray for this president and against those laws that are an afront to God's character. We must also pray for all medical personel to have the divine courage to stand against this atrocity. We all must be willing to pay the cost of obedience whether it is "in season or out of season" and may we do so because of Love. Without love, nothing is to God's glory.

    9. Mary and Rod Simon, says:

      We have a daughter who is in her 16th year as a certified medical tech in our local Catholic hospital, along with many friends who are MDs, nurses and other health care professionals. We believe God is the Author of life and He doesn't need an editor! Accordingly, after getting info on this e-mail site from our Best Man (49 years ago), we forwarded to fifty of our e-mail friends who will also take action in requesting the preservation of conscience rights! We have four married children and are eagerly looking forward to our 11th grand child. May God protect them all!

    10. Kenneth McCarthy, Tx says:

      This makes no sense, but this is what it is coming to. Slowly our rights ar being taken away and instead of having a choice it will be do or suffer the consequences of your choice. If this goes into affect there will be a shortage within the medical field and those that remain will be those that have not thought the matter through or do not care. God help us all!!!

    11. Michael R., Atlanta says:

      Mr. Obama, You will let a women choice, but force a doctor to kill children. Leave the law alone. Give doctors a choice. Stop using our money to kill babies.

    12. Pingback: The 10 Things You Need to Know About Conscience Protection | CatherineFavazza.com

    13. Darlene Barkan Canto says:

      Mr. Obama, Abortion and suicide is a sin and an abomination of God. Please, please from the bottom of my heart try not to cancle this law.

    14. pj says:

      "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"

      Edmund Burke

    15. http://www.journalof says:

      can you post another article regarding the humors about nurses? thanks for this. keep up the good work.humor for nurses

    16. Pingback: Morning Bell: Protecting Freedom for Health Care Providers | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    17. Child Of The Ocean says:

      One opposition to the Provider Refusal Rule was argued in the article: “Conscientious Objection Gone Awry — Restoring Selfless Professionalism in Medicine” by Julie D. Cantor, M.D., J.D., in the New England Journal of Medicine. I make a counter argument in the following blog post.

      http://childoftheocean.wordpress.com/2010/02/04/c

      Please read it and comment and spread the word about this utterly horrific infringement of people's most basic rights!

      Thank you.

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