According to Bloomberg and other sources, President Obama plans to reverse a concience protection rule issued by the Bush administration last December:
Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama plans to revoke a last minute rule from the Bush administration to shield health workers who refuse to participate in abortions or other medical activities that go against their beliefs.
The new proposal appeared as a notice on the White House Office of Management and Budget’s Web site. The original rule was issued in late December, in the final weeks of the Bush administration, and took effect on Jan. 20, the day Obama became president.
The rule issued by Bush health chief Michael Leavitt prohibited groups that take U.S. money from firing, denying professional certification to or otherwise discriminating against medical providers who refused to perform or assist in abortions or give referral information.
During my last year as an undergraduate, I briefly considered a career in law. As I investigated this possibility, I became so uncomfortable with the possibility that my faith and my job might come into conflict, that I opted for teaching. (It didn't help that many legal documents make extremely dull reading).
If we think there is a shortage of health care workers now, it will be interesting to see what what happens when people begin to leave or avoid medical professions altogether as a result of this.
I have posted on this issue before. I duplicate my comments below:
So, the logic of Planned Parenthood and other opponents of such regulation is that there will not be enough people providing abortions, euthanasia, in-vitro fertilizations, embryonic stem cell research, and other ethically dubious "services".
Hold on a second, though...
I thought people were so excited about these things that they were eager to provide them!
The subtext of the opposition's argument is that there will not be enough people to perptetuate the Culture of Death unless Planned Parenthood, the AMA, and other left-leaning "powers that be" in the medical, scientific, and political world are free to force doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and researchers to participate in unethical practices against their will.
The other underlying message is that the practices mentioned above are absolutely necessary and vital health services. There seems to be little faith in what human ingenuity can do, even within the bounds of divine law. There are natural alternatives to artificial birth control. Abortion is not the only option for pregnant women. In-Vitro fertilization is not the only fertility treatment out there. Adult stem cells have proven much more useful so far than the embryonic variety, and we can care for the elderly and the terminally ill without hastening their deaths.
To expect any professional to violate his or her conscience in order to remain employed is ludicrous and irresponsible. What good is a conscience if one is not permitted to follow it? What kinds of doctors, lawyers, teachers, scientists, and other professionals would we have in our society if we only hire those who are willing to compromise their most closely held beliefs for a paycheck? What kind of society will we have if we teach our children to listen to their bosses before their hearts?
Furthermore, in a nation where freedom of speech, religion, and association are held to be sacred values, it is inappropriate for employers to penalize their workers for exercising their rights in every part of their lives.
I can tell you this: there are many people in many professions who will choose their consciences over everything else, even if it means changing careers. Many people have already risked their jobs in order to provide what they believe to be the best, most ethical care for their patients. If people are worried about a health care shortage, they should wait and see how many doctors and other health care providers will elect to leave their profession rather than lose their souls.
I suggest that if such procedures as abortion and embyronic stem-cell research are as widely accepted as we are led to believe, proponents of such things should have nothing to fear!