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Policy & Politics

Health Workers' "Conscience" Rule Set to Be Voided

March 9, 2009

The Obama administration recently proposed rescinding a US Health and Human Services regulation that shields health workers who refuse to participate in care they perceive as violating personal, moral or religious beliefs. The proposal will be subject to a 30-day public comment period, officials said.

Finalized in December, the HHS regulation accommodates doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other health workers who refuse to perform abortion or assist in its provision and other similar services. Federal funding would be cut to state and local governments, hospitals, insurers, clinics, and other entities that do not obey the rule.

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Reader Comments:

Comment by: Harry Ben Alpha (Sierra Leone, Africa) Sat., Mar. 14, 2009 at 5:42 am EDT
I am totally disappointed by this kind of rule, it is reinforcing the idea that health care workers are not maintain peoples' confidentiality over their health.
The new rule we are recommending to pass is NO HEALTH CARE WORKER SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO ENTER ANY SOCIAL,RESTURANTS OR PUBLIC GATHERING BECAUSE THEY DO NOT APPLYING THEIR UNIVERSAL PRECAUTIONS IN TREATMENT OF PATIENTS AS THEY CAN EASILY TRANSFER INFECTIOUS DESEASES.
The reason for this rule is that if they are applying universal precautions in treating patients -- they have no rights to talk about morality and religious beliefs. Their responsility as health care workers is to serve anybody accessing health care services.
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Comment by: Michael (Haslett, MI) Fri., Mar. 13, 2009 at 1:55 pm EDT
I feel that anyone in the medical field who would not treat a patient for what they want to be treated for because of religious beliefs or any other reason then should not be in the medical field in the first place. They need to quit and find a job where there beliefs will never get in the way of doing their job. Each and every person deserves to be treated by all medical employees in a descent and way they should be treated.
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Comment by: Kelly (Las Vegas) Fri., Mar. 13, 2009 at 11:36 am EDT
I was shocked beyond words (although I certainly said a few choice ones in my head) when Bush implemented the "Conscience Rule" and saw it as an attempt to legalize health care discrimination, period. I'm happy to hear that Obama is doing away with it but I don't think we need another "more specific" rule to take its place. Health care workers are supposed to be there to provide "HEALTH CARE" not judgement. If a health care worker is not comfortable with certain procedures then that person should not work at a facility that provides those procedures.
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