By Mike Griffith, Staff Writer
All indications are that President Obama is going to rescind an existing executive order, commonly known as the conscience exception or the conscience rule, that prohibits doctors and nurses from being forced to participate in abortions against their will. If the conscience exception is revoked, doctors and nurses in VA and military hospitals, as well as veterans who are doctors and nurses in non-military hospitals, could be forced to choose between performing abortions or losing their jobs.
At this point it is unclear exactly how far the Obama administration is going to go in reversing this policy, but it’s clear that protections are going to be weakened for doctors and nurses who don’t want to take part in abortions, even if they object on moral or religious grounds.
Thirty medical organizations have written an open letter to President Obama urging him to preserve the conscience rule.
Polls show that a substantial majority of Americans do not believe a doctor or nurse should be forced to perform an abortion if it violates their moral or religious beliefs.
Since military hospitals are of course run by the federal government, a repeal of the conscience rule would definitely affect all doctors and nurses who work at them. A repeal of the conscience rule would also affect any veterans who are doctors and nurses at other hospitals. Currently VA hospitals generally do not perform abortions, but this could change very quickly.
"For President Obama to do this would be a huge blow to religious freedom and First Amendment rights," says Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. "No one should be forced to have an abortion, and no one should be forced to be an abortionist in violation of their religious or ethical convictions."
However, as mentioned, it remains to be seen how far the Obama administration will go in reversing the current policy.
Sources for Further Study:
Posted by VTN on April 11, 2009, With Reads Filed under Health. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.