The Bush administration today issued a sweeping new regulation that protects a broad range of health-care workers -- from doctors to janitors -- who refuse to participate in providing services that they believe violate their personal, moral or religious beliefs.
The controversial rule empowers federal health officials to cut off federal funding for any state or local government, hospital, clinic, health plan, doctor's office or other entity if it does not accommodate employees who exercise their "right of conscience." It would apply to more than 584,000 health-care facilities.
"Doctors and other health care providers should not be forced to choose between good professional standing and violating their conscience," Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said in a statement.
The regulation, which was issued just in time to take effect in the 30 days before the change of administrations, was sought 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 proponents, abortion rights activists, members of Congress and others condemned the regulation, saying it would create major obstacles to a variety of health services, including abortion, family planning, end-of-life care and possibly a wide range of scientific research.
Among other things. Hey, this has got to be wonderful news wrt standards of care for trans folk, amirite?
I'm just curious: say my personal, moral beliefs insist that "thou shalt not suffer someone who has cut me off in traffic to live..." no, you know, I can't even do this right now. Not funny. Not amused. Too mad and disgusted.
Oh, look, and that's a shocker, too, isn't it:
The 127-page rule is the latest in a flurry of federal regulations that the administration is implementing before President Bush's term ends, including a number that would weaken government protections for consumers and the environment.
Shoes are too good for you, you POS.
Although the Obama administration could reverse the rule, it would require a lengthy process. Last month, however, Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) introduced a bill to repeal the regulation legislatively.
...The rule will go into effect in 30 days and gives entities until Oct. 1, 2009, to provide written certification of their compliance. Those that do not comply face having their funding cut off or being required to return funding they already received.
ETA: Feministe has more.
In one more blow to women’s health and rights, the Bush Administration has issued a sweeping new regulation giving just about anyone the right to refuse to offer basic women’s health services. It’s being framed as about abortion, but here’s the thing: There are existing laws that protect health care workers from performing or assisting with abortion. Under current U.S. law, no one can be forced to partake in an abortion procedure if they have a moral objection.
This is about birth control.