'Refusal or Conscience Rule' on Abortion and Birth Control Rescinded

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sun, 03/15/2009 - 10:13pm.

Obama has moved to rescind a rule that would allow health care workers to deny medical care such as birth control or abortion to patients if it clashes with their morals.

The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) filed a proposal to "rescind in its entirety" the so-called refusal or conscience rule, which was pushed through by former president George W Bush on December 18, a month before Obama took office.

The DHSS said in its filing that there were concerns "the rule would limit access to patient care" and that some people, in particular in rural and other underserved areas, could be denied access to services.

"The Department believes that the comments on the ... proposed rule raised a number of questions that warrant further careful consideration. It is important that the Department have the opportunity to review this regulation to ensure its consistency with current Administration policy," the filing said.

Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) hailed the move as "a common sense fix."

Patients, especially low income women, deserve access to complete and accurate health care information and services, and today's action shows that this administration understands and will meet this need," she said in a statement.

National Organisation for Women (NOW) head Kim Gandy called the move "a victory for women who rely on access to a full range of family planning services, and a victory for patients who deserve full information and medical care that is not withheld without their knowledge or consent."

The Bush administration pushed through several last-minute rules affecting different sectors. Many have been overturned by his successor.

On Tuesday, Obama restored rules aimed at saving endangered species from harm by government projects, which were changed late last year by Bush.

In mid-February, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it would "reconsider" an 11th-hour memo issued by the previous administration, which said power plants could be built without checks on their carbon dioxide emissions.

And a week earlier, the Interior Department withdrew authorisations for energy companies to explore for gas and oil in western wilderness lands in Utah and offshore, that had been forced through in the dying days of the Bush administration.

March 7, 2009 - source TheAustralian

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sun, 03/15/2009 - 10:13pm.