Posted by: Ophelia | January 22, 2009

Roe v. Wade day

Here’s the first info sheet I put together about the new DHHS rule for my school’s chapter of lsrj.

The Department of Health and Human  Services has issued a final rule “to ensure that Department funds do not  support morally coercive or discriminatory practices or policies in violation  of federal law, pursuant to the Church Amendments (42 U.S.C. 300a-7), Public Health  Service (PHS) Act § 245 (42 U.S.C. 238n), and the Weldon > Amendment (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008, Public Law 110-161, Div. G, §  508(d), 121 Stat. 1844, 2209).”

What it  says: Recipients of federal funds cannot compel  individuals or institutions in the healthcare field into participating in or  assisting in actions they find morally or religiously objectionable. The stated > purpose of the rule is to prevent discrimination against those who refuse to  perform particular services based on a moral or religious objection.

-An institution receiving federal  funds cannot refuse to hire on the basis that a candidate refuses to perform or  assist in particular services due to a religious or moral conviction. Health  care personnel covered by the rule may range from doctors to “an employee  whose task it is to clean the instruments used in a particular procedure.”

-Healthcare personnel/entities cannot be forced to perform or  assist in  procedures they have an objection to at all. This means that once they  refuse to perform, they do not have to assist the patient in obtaining  the treatment at all.

-The Department has refused to define abortion as excluding contraception

-Pharmacists are still included under the conscience rule.

-The Department has also refused to define moral or religious objections. The Department doesn’t require the objections to be consistently applied.

What it means:

Access and information about reproductive health services will be  dependant upon the moral or religious objections of provider you visit.

-Moral  and religious objections remain undefined which allows for  discrimination so long as the objections are framed as moral or religious in nature. Providers can easily refuse to serve entire  federally protected groups–as long as they say the decision is based  in morality or religion.

-Since abortion remains undefined, this allows providers to  refuse to perform any service that is considered a form of abortion. Hormonal birth control, Intra Uterine Devices, and sterilization procedures have all been called forms of abortion before.

-Emergency contraception is also endangered by the rule.  Providers are not required to counsel about it, provide it, or direct a  patient to a provider that will. Whether a rape survivor can get emergency contraception in the reccommended 72 hours after the attack  will depend on the hospital the rapist leaves them closest to.

-Moral or religious objection can also cover healthcare > providers that refuse to counsel about or provide free non hormonal birth control such as condoms.

In  an emergency situation where a patient requires immediate care, they  may not receive it if the procedure required goes against the morality  of even assisting personnel. The patient will have to wait while the  hospital locates someone willing to assist.

-Title X funds will now be available to crisis pregnancy  centers that refuse to counsel patients about the availability of abortion.

-The Department simultaneously claims that access to reproductive health services will not be threatened and that decreases in services are  proof positive that the rule works to help providers regain their moral  compass.

“If access to any  service significantly declined with the implementation of this rule and all  other factors remained unchanged, that fact could be evidence that health care  providers in question had previously been compelled to deliver the service over  their conscience objections.”

The morality or religion of your healthcare provider can control  whether or not you are informed about all of your reproductive options,  and whether you will have access to those options. Your pharmacist can  also control whether or not you receive any prescriptions your  healthcare provider has deemed necessary.



  1. […] overturns many of Bush’s policies that interfere with a woman’s choice. His provisions allowing pharmacists and health care professionals refuse to provide service or care to a woman base… is a huge one I would rejoice to see gone. Far too many women in in areas where they have limited […]

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