Bush Acts To Enable Social Conservatives To Deny Health Care

Bush might be a lame duck, but he is still able to do harm. The Washington Post reports:

The Bush administration yesterday granted sweeping new protections to health workers who refuse to provide care that violates their personal beliefs, setting off an intense battle over opponents’ plans to try to repeal the controversial measure.

Critics began consulting with the incoming Obama administration on strategies to reverse the regulation as quickly as possible while supporters started mobilizing to fight such efforts.

The far-reaching regulation cuts off federal funding for any state or local government, hospital, health plan, clinic or other entity that does not accommodate doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other employees who refuse to participate in care they find ethically, morally or religiously objectionable. It was sought by conservative groups, abortion opponents and others to safeguard workers from being fired, disciplined or penalized in other ways.

But women’s health advocates, family planning proponents, abortion rights activists and some members of Congress condemned the regulation, saying it will be a major obstacle to providing many health services, including abortion, family planning, infertility treatment, and end-of-life care, as well as possibly a wide range of scientific research.

The article concludes with further information on how this ruling could be used to deny health care:

Leavitt initially said the regulation was intended primarily to protect workers who object to abortion. The final rule, however, would affect a far broader array of services, protecting workers who do not wish to dispense birth control pills, Plan B emergency contraceptives and other forms of contraception they consider equivalent to abortion, or to inform patients where they might obtain such care. The rule could also protect workers who object to certain types of end-of-life care or to withdrawing care, or even perhaps providing care to unmarried people or gay men and lesbians.

While primarily aimed at doctors and nurses, it offers protection to anyone with a “reasonable” connection to objectionable care — including ultrasound technicians, nurses aides, secretaries and even janitors who might have clean equipment used in procedures they deem objectionable.

Fortunately this ruling, along with many others from the Bush administration, are likely to be overturned after Obama takes office:

On abortion and related matters, action is expected early on executive, regulatory, budgetary and legislative fronts.

Decisions that the new administration will weigh include: whether to cut funding for sexual abstinence programs; whether to increase funding for comprehensive sex education programs that include discussion of birth control; whether to allow federal health plans to pay for abortions; and whether to overturn regulations such as one that makes fetuses eligible for health-care coverage under the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Women’s health advocates are also pushing for a change in rules that would lower the cost of birth control at college health clinics.

Obama aides will have to settle many of these questions in issuing their first budget in February.

“We have a lot of work to do to fix the damage the Bush administration has done,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

As one of his first actions, Mr. Obama is likely to issue an executive order lifting President George W. Bush’s restrictions on funding for research using embryonic stem cells, a move with bipartisan support.

Women’s health advocates also expect early action on the “global gag rule,” which bars foreign organizations from using their own money for abortion services or advocacy if they accept U.S. aid for family planning. This policy was instituted by President Ronald Reagan, immediately overturned by President Bill Clinton and then reinstated by Mr. Bush.

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    novparl says:

    What bothers me about Mr Bush is the way he’s mashed up the economy. Spending money like there’s no tomorrow. This is much more concening than his views on stem cells.

    London, 12:40 pm.  

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