“Protections Set for Anti-abortion Health Workers”, reports The Washington Post (22 August 08). An excerpt from the article is below.
The Bush administration yesterday announced plans to implement a controversial regulation designed to protect doctors, nurses and other health-care workers who object to abortion from being forced to deliver services that violate their personal beliefs.
The rule empowers federal health officials to pull funding from more than 584,000 hospitals, clinics, health plans, doctors’ offices and other entities if they do not accommodate employees who refuse to participate in care they find objectionable on personal, moral or religious grounds.
“People should not be forced to say or do things they believe are morally wrong,” Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said. “Health-care workers should not be forced to provide services that violate their own conscience.”
The proposed regulation, which could go into effect after a 30-day comment period, was welcomed by conservative groups, abortion opponents and others as necessary to safeguard workers from being fired, disciplined or penalized in other ways. Women’s health advocates, family planning advocates, abortion rights activists and others, however, condemned the regulation, saying it could create sweeping obstacles to a variety of health services, including abortion, family planning, end-of-life care and possibly a wide range of scientific research.
“It’s breathtaking,” said Robyn S. Shapiro, a bioethicist and lawyer at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “The impact could be enormous.”
This is an excellent ammendment. Employees of medical organisations most certainly should not be forced to perform actions which conflict with their worldview. This is a long-respected principle, and it is high time that it is applied to those working in the medical profession.
Predictably, the feminists are outraged that such a suggestion could be made. Planned Parenthood is trying to raise funds to oppose the regulation change, saying
“We must defeat this new rule in order to ensure access to accurate, comprehensive health care, including birth control and abortion services, for every person who wants and needs it.”
However Mike Leavitt stressed that there was nothing in the regulation that would prevent any organization from providing any type of care. “There is nothing in this rule that would in any way change a patient’s right to a legal procedure,” he said.- Washington Post