Saturday, December 20, 2008

HHS Rule Protects Patients' Ability to Access Doctors of their Choice

HHS Rule Protects Patients' Ability to Access Doctors of their Choice

Issues regulation to protect the right of health care providers not to do abortions
WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a "Conscience Rule" today upholding federal laws protecting the right of health care providers to decline to participate in morally objectionable services. Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America, stated, "This regulation ensures that health care providers with objections to committing abortion and other morally abhorrent procedures will not be discriminated against and driven out of their profession. It ensures that patients can access doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others who share their ethical views."

Federal laws dating back to the 1970's safeguard the freedom of conscience of health care providers. But doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other professionals reported being pressured to commit abortion despite these federal protections. This regulation makes clear that:

Non-discrimination protections apply to individual employees and institutions that receive certain funds from HHS;

Recipients of certain HHS funds must certify that they are complying with federal laws protecting conscience rights;

Complaints of discriminations are to be handled by the HHS Office for Civil Rights.

In a press release today HHS noted that comments on the proposed regulations "exhibited a lack of understanding of these laws."

"Abortion groups are desperate to change the topic from abortion to birth control, and to deny health care providers the right to choose not to commit abortions. Forcing doctors, nurses and other health care providers to commit abortions would drive pro-life professionals out of the profession at a time when we need more doctors and nurses. It would deny patients the ability to choose doctors and health care providers who share their strong moral views. Many patients cannot trust their health to a doctor or nurse who commits abortions," noted Wendy Wright.

"Barack Obama is expected to undo this conscience rule once he enters the White House at the demand of abortion groups. If he does, he will diminish the health care field of exceptional professionals who devote themselves to saving lives, corrupt the profession by requiring providers to violate their Hippocratic Oath to 'do no harm'. And he would harm women by denying them access to ethical health care providers," stated Wendy Wright.

Concerned Women for America is the nation's largest public policy women's organization.

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