Congressional Bill Would Reverse Bush Rules on Doctors and Forced Abortions
by Steven Ertelt
November 25, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado has introduced new legislation to go along with a Senate bill that would overturn new rules the Bush administration plans to put in place. The new regulations enforce existing laws that make it so medical centers and professionals are not forced into doing abortions.
Federal laws already exist that protect private medical facilities and staff such as doctors or nurses from doing abortions. However, these laws are not receiving adequate enforcement.
The Department of Health and Human Services is looking at putting into place new regulations that deny federal funds to government agencies or hospitals that make employers or employees participate in abortions against their will.
DeGette doesn’t like the new regulations against forced abortions and she is leading the charge in the House to kill them.
DeGette has joined with Rep. Louise Slaughter, a new York Democrat, to introduce a new bill that would prohibit the proposed HHS conscience clause regulation from taking effect.
Her measure is a companion bill to S. 20 sponsored by pro-abortion Sens. Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray that accomplishes the same goal.
"The Bush Administrations 11th hour attempt to restrict access to reproductive health care is not only abusive, but also threatens everyones access to other vital health care services," DeGette said in a statement on her Congressional web site.
"The Bush Administration continues to pursue its extreme ideology over sound public health care policies even as it enters its final days," she claims. This legislation sends a clear message that this is the wrong direction for health care policy in America."
HHS has not yet released the new regulations, but they are expected soon.
Jonathan Imbody, the vice-president for governmental relations at the Christian Medical Association, has said the Bush administration proposal is very necessary.
He said there is little reason for abortion advocates to oppose the proposal because it only "would require recipients of aid under federal health programs to certify that they will adhere to federal laws related to abortion and other controversial procedures."
"These regulations would enforce existing federal laws that uphold the right of health care professionals to make professional judgments on ethical issues," he said.
He said the proposal follows the 35-year-old Church amendment which prevents federally-funded institutions from requiring individuals to provide or assist in abortions if they have moral or religious objections.
Imbody said it also follows the Hyde-Weldon amendment that Congress approved in 2005 that prohibits federal agencies from dispersing money to state and local governments that discriminate against health care professionals who choose not to perform or refer for abortions.
He said the Bush administration plan is needed because the laws aren’t being followed.
"Regulations paralleling these laws are long overdue and sorely needed," he explained.
"Two of every five of our members surveyed report experiencing discriminatory pressure to violate their convictions on controversial health issues. Medical students are eschewing careers in obstetrics for fear of being forced to perform abortions," he added.
Imbody concludes: "Upholding the First Amendment rights of health care professionals to make professional ethical judgments based on objective ethical standards not only protects patients, it also protects the First Amendment rights of us all."
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