WASHINGTON (Catholic Online) – President Obama has begun quietly to begin the process of overturning regulations that protect doctors and hospitals from being forced to perform or refer abortions. The Chicago Tribune reports that President Obama is directing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to begin overturning the conscience rule that protects medical providers who are pro-life.
This pullback comes only months after the Bush administration strengthened the rule by placing penalties on facilities that subject pro-life doctors, nurses, or other medical workers to discrimination over the issue of abortion.
As with his rescinding of the Mexico City policy a few weeks ago, this move by the President occurred with no fanfare. Instead, the initiative took place at the same time the budget was announced, which drew all the attention.
The administration is calling for a 30 day public comment period. "We believe that this is a complex issue that requires a thoughtful process where all voices can be heard," said one official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, told the Chicago Tribune.
Care Net President Melinda Delahoyde responded to the news by saying, "Our nation's physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers have the right to practice medicine without violating their conscience.”
To remove these protections is to ultimately remove these individuals of integrity from the field of medicine entirely," Delahoyde said. "That's not an action that we as Americans should be willing to accept."
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