Good News: Obama Administration Rescinds Bush’s “Conscience” Clause
This is such good news:
After two years of struggling to balance the rights of patients against the beliefs of health-care workers, the Obama administration on Friday finally rescinded most of a federal regulation designed to protect those who refuse to provide care they find objectionable on moral or religious grounds.
The decision guts one of President George W. Bush’s most controversial legacies: a rule that was widely interpreted as shielding workers who refuse to participate in a range of medical services, such as providing birth control pills, caring for gay men with AIDS and performing in-vitro fertilization for lesbians or single women.
Friday’s move was seen as an important step in countering that trend, which in recent years had led pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for the emergency contraceptive Plan B, doctors in California to reject a lesbian’s request for infertility treatment, and an ambulance driver in Chicago to turn away a woman who needed transportation for an abortion.
While Bush’s regulation applied only to the medical profession, it created individual instances of turmoil and it had the potential to create chaos if expanded. What if, for example, police officers didn’t have to assist people they found “objectionable on moral or religious grounds?” What if letter carriers didn’t have to deliver mail that came from places they considered “objectionable on moral or religious grounds?”
This is a road we shouldn’t have gone down and I’m glad the Obama administration reversed course.