Thursday, January 08, 2009

'Conscience' an important issue among physicians

Charlie Butts - OneNewsNow - 1/6/2009

President Bush's "right of conscience" rules for medical professionals are supported by a large number of people in the profession.

The rules permit medical personnel to refuse services based on personal ethics or religious views. HCD Research solicited the opinions of more than 1,700 doctors around the country. HCD co-founder and managing partner Glenn Kessler has the results. "Forty-nine percent were definitely in support, whereas 33 percent were against and 19 [percent] weren't sure," states Kessler.

Some doctors do not even want to refer patients to other sources if their request violates the doctor's conscience. As Kessler explains, that question was posed to the doctors.

"Physicians made it very clear that if a physician chooses to withhold a procedure, they should not be allowed to withhold information as to where people should go to get the medical procedure that they originally came to that physician for," he says.

The survey results are important because the new Congress will soon deal with a bill designed to overturn the right-of-conscience rules. In addition to provisions protecting healthcare workers, the measure calls for a cut in federal funding for any institution that does not accommodate those workers who refuse to participate in care they find ethically, morally, or religiously objectionable; and the bill acts as a safeguard against workers being fired, disciplined, or penalized for their actions.

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