Back on August 21, Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt went ahead with a rule change that requires that any health organization receiving federal money certify in writing that their employees have the right to refuse to assist in any way with medical services they deem objectionable.
While the issues this raises for abortion rights activists are pretty obvious, the ramifications go deeper than that. The rule gives health providers clearance to refuse any medical treatment or procedure that they may find morally or religiously objectionable. It opens the door for pharmacists to refuse to fill contraceptive prescriptions, and for doctors to refuse rape victims the morning-after pill as a matter of “conscience.”
(Perhaps the only thing more horrifying than this rule is that the revised version that was put in place is less horrifying than the original, which explicitly redefined pregnancy as beginning after conception and before implantation. Thank Senators Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray for that text change.)
Hopefully this makes you as angry as this makes me, and hopefully this anger leads you to write an official statement objecting to the rule–something that is allowed for 30 days after the rule’s inception. (Toward the bottom of the entry linked above, there are two links you can follow to make such a statement.)
30 days happens on September 25, this Thursday.