So by now, I hope we all remember that dangerous HHS rule that Bush implemented during his final days in office? The one that prevents health care providers from “discriminating” against employees who refuse to to do their jobs, when they include things like providing patients with birth control and accurate reproductive health options?
The news has come out today that rescinding the rule is exactly what he apparently plans to do:
Taking another step into the abortion debate, the Obama administration Friday will move to rescind a controversial rule that allows health-care workers to deny abortion counseling or other family-planning services if doing so would violate their moral beliefs, according to administration officials.
The rollback of the “conscience rule” comes just two months after the Bush administration announced it last year in one of its final policy initiatives.
Three cheers for that!
The kind of sketchy news is this part:
Officials said the administration will consider drafting a new rule to clarify what health-care workers can reasonably refuse for patients.
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 rulemaking.
In promulgating the new rule last year, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said it was necessary to address discrimination in the medical field.
He criticized “an environment in the health-care field that is intolerant of individual conscience, certain religious beliefs, ethnic and cultural traditions and moral convictions.”
Officials said the Obama administration’s goal is to make the rule clearer.
Let’s hope that once the administration “considers” this option, they decide to toss the idea back out. Unless, of course, by making the rules “clearer,” Obama plans to limit the amount of services that health care workers can refuse to provide further than before, thus making access to things like emergency contraception a whole lot easier. If that’s the route he’s planning to go, it would make this even better news.
NARAL is asking supporters to send Obama their thanks for planning to rescind the rule, and I strongly urge you to do so as well. Not only is positive reinforcement hugely helpful when it comes to policy, but knowing that he has lots of support for the idea is also likely to increase the chances that Obama gets this done right.
- Bush Poised To Implement Dangerous New DHHS Rule by Cara November 14, 2008
- Seven States Sue Government Over Anti-Choice DHHS Rule by Cara January 17, 2009
- Send Your Comments on the “Conscience” Rule to HHS by Cara March 11, 2009
- Good and Bad News on Proposed DHHS Rule by Cara November 19, 2008
- Executive Order Watch by Holly January 22, 2009