For some reason, the media has decided to focus on the proposed rule from the Health and Human Services Department on the right of conscience, even for doctors, and even for abortion. I guess they felt it was the right thing to do.
LifeEthics has been following the conscience issue as it unfolded over the last year and I wrote a review of the history of the rule in November. Here is the actual notice of the proposed rule, in pdf.
Kaisernet.org, the Kaiser Family Foundation’s daily on line newsletter article recalls the report by the New York Times last month that 3 of 5 members of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (two Democrats and one man, the legal council appointed by President Bush) released a statement that the new regulation would “overturn” years of protection. In my opinion, that is ridiculous in light of the recent debate about the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist’s Ethics Statement #385 requiring member physicians to provide abortion, practice in close proximity to an abortionist, and/or make prior arrangements with an abortionist. In practice, all physicians who provide health care to women, including Family Physicians, Internists and Pediatricians, are held to the ACOG standards.
For those physicians and other medical professionals who are employed, the regulation will merely underscore and clarify protections. For those of us who are self-employed but subject to Boards and ethics statements like that of ACOG, the new regulation will provide protection from new pressures to act against our consciences.
For the worst report that is not on a blatantly pro-abortion website, see the AHN (“AllheadlineNews”) editor’s incredibly biased contribution. Practice your skills at unravelling biased non-news statements on this excerpt:
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has advised the president that the rule would overturn four decades of civil rights laws in the nation. They also say that current law protects people who have religious objections from performing duties that conflict with their religion.
Many groups support the regulation, although about as many oppose it.
The new rules probably wouldn’t stop people with money or those living in large cities, or metropolitan areas, from finding the care they needed.
However, critics worry that poor people, or those living in small towns, might not be able to afford to travel outside their area to find a medical facility or health care workers that would provide them with the medical care they needed.
Thus the new regulation would create a two-tier health care system for some in America, while being funded from taxpayer money.
Overthrow protections by protecting? And, “Many . . . about as many?”
Remember that ACOG would requirements doctors who do not perform abortions to only practice “in close proximity” to those who do.
I still say that the ethical solution would be to make sure that pro-abortion OB/Gyns spread out to cover any shortage areas, rather than force the rest of us to clump together or make some areas – and all the men, women, and children that will never need an abortion – do without a local doctor so that no one ever has to be exposed to a conscience.
Edited 5/10/13 for formatting problems — BBN
>"I still say that the ethical solution would be to make sure that pro-abortion OB/Gyns spread out to cover any shortage areas."I see a problem with that. There many places where those doctors would be made *extremally* unwelcome. Continuous protests, harassment from crowds, death threats, bricks through the window. I'm not saying all pro-lifers are like that, but it only takes a very small minority of extremeist fanatics to create a no-go area for doctors.That aside, I think the protections would be a much easier thing to get accepted if they were explicitly limited to abortion and only abortion – not contraception, of any type. If it was made clear that reproductive health services are obliged to provide contraceptives without objection, and information on them, then a lot of the pro-choice objection would come to an end. Many of us regard this not as a protection of conscience but as the latest push of a religious agenda bent on reducing the availability of the sin-promoting contraception, and such a modification or clarification would do much to reduce this fear.
>And, of course, this is the real issue for the pro-abortion faction. Not everyone's doing it, not everyone is 100% behind the right to abort our children. In fact, like so many of our issues these days, it's about 50/50. While most people agree that contraception is ethical, there's no reason to hobble those who don't.Plan ahead, understand what you're asking for, and don't expect to go through life without a few obstacles. Your freedom is only guaranteed if everyone's freedom is protected.