Obama administration rescinds key parts of federal regulation on ‘conscience protections’ for health workers
The Obama administration on Friday eliminated key provisions of a George W. Bush-era rule that allowed health workers to opt out of medical services they find objectionable on religious or personal grounds. The rule was widely interpreted as allowing workers to refuse to participate in a range of services, including providing the emergency contraceptive Plan B and treating gays and lesbians. The new rule leaves intact previously established “conscience protections” for workers who do not want to perform abortions or sterilizations. It also retains the Bush rule’s formal process for allowing workers whose rights are violated to file complaints.
Controversies over bioethical standards at U.S. Catholic hospitals show the need for greater Catholic education for health care workers, Vatican officials said Thursday (Feb. 3). Church leaders said a new set of biomedical guidelines will be published later this year, as well as a separate document on AIDS prevention after last year’s controversial remarks by Pope Benedict XVI on the morality of condom use.