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HHS “Conscience” Rule Closer to Enactment

December 18, 2008

As Scott Swenson explained yesterday, the HHS “conscience” rule that we’ve all been following for months is one step closer to becoming official, as regulatory review has been completed. Get published in the Federal Register, and boom!, it’s official. [See the update]

As Scott explains:

For anyone just catching up on this far-right social conservative effort to take away your rights to legal health care, here’s a primer: the refusal clause could allow a health care professional who believes that contraception is the same thing as abortion to refuse to give a woman who was raped emergency contraception; a person who does not believe in blood tranfusions could refuse to participate in necessary emergency care, and the list of horrific examples goes on.

Never once in the months of debate on this — on Secretary Michael Leavitt’s blog, in the media, or in the responses from HHS to 325,000 petition signatures filed in opposition and more than 200,000 public comments questioning the measure, has the simplest of questions ever been answered.

In fact, Leavitt has publicly misrepresented the proposed rule throughout the process, claiming that doctors’ certification would be in jeopardy (it wouldn’t) if they refuse to perform abortions (a right they already have), and claiming that the scope of the rule is narrowly focused while allowing the rule to move on without even a definition of “abortion” to address concerns that contraception could be considered abortion by those with a non-standard definition of pregnancy (while defining “workforce” and “individual”).

Meanwhile, LifeSiteNews is still spreading the pro-rule propaganda (as did HHS Secretary Leavitt) that physician certification is in jeopardy for those who don’t perform abortion unless this rule is implemented – which has been thoroughly and repeatedly debunked.

As the Wall Street Journal notes, reversal plans are already being discussed. The Philadelphia Daily News has a great opinion piece on this today as well.

For more information, poke around the archives here or see this OBOS round-up of coverage there, and my ten reasons why the rule is a bad idea (I’m sure you can think of more).

One Comment leave one →
  1. Judy permalink
    December 28, 2008 4:34 pm

    I was actually very concerned about the universe of people that could object and have their objection considered valid. It also concerned me that they could object right up to the beginning of the procedure and cause a problem.

    I am against abortion, however, don’t believe that decisions this wide ranging no definitions of legal terms should be made through the regulatory process. This was a response to not having the voted in the elective chambers. This is an abuse of the regulatory process on the level which would be shouted from the mountaintops if a Democrat did it.

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