Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: Bush says doctors may deny health care

19 December 2008

Bush says doctors may deny health care

I think part of the problem is that Bush doesn't understand what women's health care is all about

From the Washington Post:

The Bush administration today issued a sweeping new regulation that protects a broad range of health-care workers -- from doctors to janitors -- who refuse to participate in providing services that they believe violate their personal, moral or religious beliefs.

The controversial rule empowers federal health officials to cut off federal funding for any state or local government, hospital, clinic, health plan, doctor's office or other entity if it does not accommodate employees who exercise their "right of conscience." It would apply to more than 584,000 health-care facilities.

Women's health advocates, family planning proponents, abortion rights activists, members of Congress and others condemned the regulation, saying it would create major obstacles to a variety of health services, including abortion, family planning, end-of-life care and possibly a wide range of scientific research.
It's not hard to see who this regulation is aimed at. There are a couple of dozen terminally ill patients in Oregon who are prescribed lethal doses of medication every year under the state's Death With Dignity Act, and this regulation might make it slightly harder for these patients to undergo assisted suicide. But the real targets are the millions of women who will be denied abortions and birth control.

Already, women find it very difficult to obtain abortions and birth control, especially the "morning after pill", in many areas of the US. In South Dakota, for example, there are only two doctors who perform abortions, and there are no providers in Rapid City (metro population 250,000, 350 miles from Sioux Falls). This regulation will make it impossible for many women to get an abortion, or to get the morning after pill in a timely fashion. The effect will be most acute in rural areas, where women may also find it difficult to get birth control pills.

Technically, the Bush administration's new regulation doesn't discriminate against women by denying them access to health care, because there might be some doctor out there who decides that it's wrong to treat colon cancer because he objects to eating red meat on moral grounds, but in the real world virtually everyone denied care because of this regulation will be a woman.

Note that the "right of conscience" will only be available to workers in the field of health care. The Bush administration continues to pursue charges against
Ehren Watada, who objected on moral grounds to participate in Bush's war of aggression in Iraq. And for the past three years, the administration has hounded Thomas Tamm, who told the American people that their government was illegally spying on them.

Watada and Tamm are not given the "right of conscience", probably because they aren't trying to deny reproductive rights to women.

(cross posted at

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