Bush's Conscience Rule closes loophole; enables caregivers to refuse care
(h/t State of Disbelief @ The Confluence)
The passing of Bush's Conscience Rule enables the implementation of laws written decades ago allowing caregivers to refuse services they consider morally objectionable. The laws followed the Supreme Court passage of laws allowing a woman's right to abortion but didn't have the connection to enable them.
The Bush administration announced its "conscience protection" rule for the health care industry yesterday, giving everyone including doctors, hospitals, receptionists and volunteers in medical experiments the right to refuse to participate in medical care they find morally objectionable.Unfortunately, this provides an opportunity for Bush to further damage a woman's right to choose.
"This rule protects the right of medical providers to care for their patients in accord with their conscience," outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said.
The right-to-refuse rule includes abortion, but Leavitt's office said it extends to other aspects of health care where moral concerns could arise, including birth control, emergency contraception, in vitro fertilization, stem cell research or assisted suicide.
The rule will take effect the day before President George W. Bush leaves office.
Critics of the rule said it was too broad and threatened the rights of patients. They said they were worried that patients would not be given full and complete information about their medical options.
"This gives an open invitation to any doctor, nurse, receptionist, insurance plan or even hospital to refuse to provide information about birth control on the grounds that they believe contraception amounts to abortion," lawyers for the National Women's Law Center said.
Let's hope the president-elect sticks to his word come January:
In August, Sen. Barack Obama criticized the rule when it was proposed and said he was "committed to ensuring that the health and reproductive rights of women are protected."
Asked about the rule yesterday, a spokesman for Obama's transition team said the new president "will review all 11th-hour regulations and will address them once he is president."
After Jan. 20, the Obama administration could begin the process of adopting a revised ruled, but that would likely take many months. Instead, Congress could adopt a resolution that rejects the late rules adopted by the Bush administration.