Saturday, December 20, 2008

'Right of conscience' regulation faces hurdles

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has introduced legislation to protect medical personnel who object to providing services based on their religious beliefs.

The regulations implement over 35 years of civil rights laws governing healthcare, allowing medical personnel -- including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists -- to refuse to perform services to which they object. Otherwise, there was the threat of some hospitals being forced to close, according to Dr. David Stevens of the Christian Medical Association.

"If you can imagine...your Catholic, Baptist, or other religiously affiliated hospital in your own community not [being[ open, that was where this was heading [along] with an effort to force [out of healthcare] all those who do not do abortions...," Stevens explains.

Pro-abortions forces had already made headway in forcing their views upon medical professionals, so the regulations are needed, says the Christian CEO. "Two out of five of our members say they have either been fired or lost a promotion opportunity or discriminated against in some other manner based upon their religious beliefs," he notes.

Stevens expects a move in the next administration to overturn the rules, and he believes it will take a strong grassroots effort to keep them intact.

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