In parts of the U.S., conscience clauses exist within medical care laws that permit medical care workers to decline performing procedures that violate their religious values. Experts are quick to point out that pursuing one’s conscience can very easily run afoul of the Hippocratic Oath to serve all patients in a fair manner. Based upon the Obama administration’s recent changes to the conscience terms, it appears that idea is shared. Obama’s changes to the conscience terms supersede provisions written in during the final days of the Pres. George W. Bush administration. People take out quick short term loans for health care, and do not expect their doctor’s religious beliefs to get in the way of their health care.
Started by George W. Bush was the conscience terms
During President Bush’s final days in office, a conscience clause was inserted into laws pertaining to health care workers. Concerns over providing emergency contraception, treating homosexual patients and prescribing birth control to single women were cited as reasons for the conscience terms by the Bush administration.
The rules are “unclear and potentially over-broad in scope.” This is what the Obama administration thinks of it all. The new exception in the conscience laws only states for conscience/religious grounds instead of all of the stated above. This will go into impact in 30 days. The process through which health care workers can file complaints was also retained.
The rules of federal funds dispersed
If organizations wouldn’t accommodate medical care workers that have religious and conscience problems with procedures, then the federal funds to state and local governments, hospitals, health plans and clinics would be cut off with the Bush regulation.
You will find clearer definitions of the conscience law with Obama though. Procedurally, matters of women’s health have received greater attention. Under the new rules, roadblocks to obtaining abortion, contraceptive and fertility treatments can be lessened substantially.
A statement by the United States Department of Health and Human Services speaks to the balance the Obama compromise has struck:
“The administration strongly supports provider conscience laws that protect and support the rights of health care providers, and also recognizes and supports the rights of patients. … The rule being issued today builds on these laws by providing a clear enforcement process.”
Lou Dobbs’ story on the conscience clause