UPDATE, 1:55p: Shock, Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards opposes the new HHS rule.
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Here’s the deal.
For over 35 years the US has had civil rights laws protecting health care workers from participating in procedures they find unethical or immoral, like abortion.
Yesterday the Dept. of Health & Human Services issued a regulation to ensure compliance with those laws.
hhs logo.jpgBottom line: If a health care entity gets government funding and violates conscience laws, the funding can be terminated, even retroactively, as in the entity may have to give $ back to HHS.
That’s basically it. To reword, according to the Wall Street Journal:

[The rule] says hospitals, pharmacies and other entities that be charged with discrimination and lose federal funds if they pressure employees to take part in treatments to which they object on religious or moral grounds….


A brouhaha erupted in July when someone inside HHS leaked a rule draft definition of abortion stating life began at conception, “whether before of after implantation.” This would have caused birth control pills and the morning-after pill to possibly be considered abortion drugs, since both can stop a 5-9 day old embryo from implanting in the uterus.
In the final rule released yesterday, HHS “declines to add a definition of abortion to the rule.”
Further, the rule states, “[N]othing in this rule alters the obligation of federal Title X programs to deliver contraceptive services to clients in need as authorized by law and regulation.”
But employees may decline to dispense. According to the Los Angeles Times:

The right-to-refuse rule includes abortion and other aspects of healthcare where moral concerns could arise, Leavitt’s office said, such as birth control, emergency contraception, in vitro fertilization, stem cell research and assisted suicide.

One more thing. The new rule clarifies health care workers do not have to discuss abortion as a crisis pregnancy option if they have a moral problem with abortion.
Liberals and the abortion industry are adamantly opposed to the new HHS rule, leading me to conclude somebody somewhere is breaking civil rights conscience laws. Otherwise, what’s the prob?
President Bush enacted the new rule just under the wire. He had until December 20 or President-elect Obama could have wiped it off the books with a stroke of the pen according to a rule stopping presidents from enacting last minute regulations.
Still, Obama can rescind the rule, which apparently he has promised to do. But it will take at least 6 months for incoming HHS Secretary Daschle to get that done.
Meanwhile, pro-abort Sens. Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray have already filed a bill to block funding of the new rule. But this wouldn’t erase it. The dormant rule would merely sit waiting for a more friendly Congress.
One other route to get rid of the rule would be for the new Congress to pass resolutions disapproving of it. But that would have to get done within the 1st 75 days, which is unlikely.
Here we see the so-called “pro-choice” community is not “pro-choice” at all.