Pro-Life Groups Quick to Blast Obama’s Expected Removal of Bush Abortion Rules
by Steven Ertelt
February 27, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life organizations were quick to respond to the news that President Barack Obama is looking at removing the rules President Bush put in place to protect medical professionals on abortion. They say Obama is disrespecting religious freedoms by putting more pressure on doctors to do abortions.
Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council said the Bush protections are needed for better enforcement of the Church, Coats, and Weldon Amendments that protect health care providers’ right of conscience.
These regulations would have increased public awareness of, and ensured governmental enforcement of, these vital statutes. Without them, pro-life medical staff are in jeopardy, he told LifeNews.com.
"For President Obama to do this would be a huge blow to religious freedom and First Amendment rights," he said. "No one should be forced to have an abortion, and no one should be forced to be an abortionist in violation of their religious or ethical convictions."
White House officials say they will allow public comments and then will either modify or rescind the Bush rules in 30 days.
When that is done, Perkins says Obama "will open the door to discrimination against the choice of healthcare workers who do not want to be complicit in abortion or other controversial practices."
Meanwhile, Care Net, a network of more than 1,000 pregnancy centers across the country, will be adversely impacted by the decision.
Care Net president Melinda Delahoyde told LifeNews.com that pro-life doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are needed to help the millions of women and families at pregnancy centers nationwide.
"Because of our commitment to providing alternatives to abortion, we rely on the availability of pro-life medical professionals – nurses, OB-GYNs, nurse practitioners, sonographers, and others," she said. "If the rights of these individuals are violated, then they will simply leave the field of practice or not enter it altogether."
Delahoyde said her group will be mobilizing its network and supporters to provide comment to the Department of Health and Human Services on the Administration’s proposal to overturn the regulations.
Deirdre McQuade, the pro-life spokeswoman for the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops, is also upset at the news.
We are gravely concerned over todays news that the Obama administration may rescind the current federal regulation protecting the conscience rights of health care providers, McQuade said.
"Efforts to nullify or weaken any conscience protection will undermine our national heritage of diversity and religious freedom, reduce patients access to life-affirming health care, and endanger the national consensus required to enact much-needed health care reform," she told LifeNews.com.
She said she encourages pro-life advocates to send comments to the Obama administration voicing their opposition to him overturning the pro-life protections.
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