HHS: New Regs Protect Medical WorkersDec 22, 2008
The United States Department of Health and Human Services last week announced new regulations that protect the right of conscience of pro-life medical professionals (see Washington Post, here). The Family Foundation and the Virginia Catholic Conference urged you to send public comments to HHS this past fall in support of these new rules. Your work, and that of thousands of others, paid off. The new regulations establish needed clarification and enforcement mechanisms to ensure that medical personnel are not coerced into participating in procedures, such as abortions, that violate their moral, ethical and religious convictions.
This is a huge victory for religious freedom and the First Amendment. No one should be forced to have an abortion, and no one should be forced to be an abortionist. These regulations will ensure that conscience protection statutes will be strongly enforced by the government just as other civil rights laws are. It's also a victory for the right of patients to choose doctors who agree with their personal beliefs.
Pro-abortion groups, such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL, already are urging the incoming Obama administration to reverse the regulations.
For several years The Family Foundation has worked to extend Virginia's current conscience clause protection to pharmacists who are often forced, against their beliefs, to distribute abortifacient chemical drugs like the so-called emergency contraceptive "Plan-B." Planned Parenthood sees this issue as a major threat to their financial well-being. Remember, for several years, the federal government provided financial supplements to Planned Parenthood's purchase of Plan-B.
At a time when religious liberty rights are under constant threat and are gradually being removed, this is a tremendous victory for the right of conscience. Despite the cries of radical pro-abortion groups, these new regulations will in no way threaten or diminish real health care. They will simply provide protections for people whose religious convictions forbid them from participating in abortion related services.