The Bush Administration’s “Provider Conscience” Regulations: Unconscionable!
In what has got to be one of the most egregious abuses of Presidential power – and disgusting examples of largesse to one’s political base – George Bush’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), despite the protests of hundreds of members of Congress, Health Care professionals, the AMA, and Attorneys General, has promulgated a series of rules which allow health care providers to deny supplying legal and therapeutically necessary treatment to patients based on religious or moral reasons.
“Under this new rule, doctors and health care workers of all kinds can deny patients vital health care information and services, without the patient even knowing. No patient is exempt from the reach of this rule: sexual assault victims could be denied information about emergency contraception that could prevent unintended pregnancy, moms hoping to time their pregnancies can be denied contraception at their local pharmacy, young adults hoping to be tested for sexually transmitted infections could be denied treatment by health care employees who oppose premarital sex.”
Beyond contemptible. This literally can – and will – place untold numbers of Americans at risk for being denied necessary treatments, based on whatever “religious” or “ethical” or “moral” reasonings that the provider wants, all without the knowledge of the patient. In other words, for example, if you are gay and have had un-safe sex, and wish to get an immediate therapy of cocktails to greatly lower the risk of becoming HIV positive, your doctor can tell you that you don’t need it. NOT because you don’t need it, but because your doctor has a problem with fags.
Planned Parenthood has created an online petition calling on the incoming Obama administration to overturn these life-threatening rules. That could be trickier than it might seem, as there are all manner of laws which govern how Department regulations and Executive Orders can and cannot be overturned, involving the amount of time that they are on the books.
That is not to say that they cannot be overturned, it is just to point out that the Bush administration did not put this stuff forward as a short-term,“30-day” gift to its fundie base; they knew full well that these rules have a pernicious likelihood of staying around for a lot longer than anyone with any civility or decency wants them to.