The Facts on the Conscience Rule


It’s being reported that
President Obama will revoke a midnight-hour Bush administration Health
and Human Services rule change. The so-called "conscience clause" is a
federal protection (issued in December and implemented in January) to health-care workers who refuse to provide care that violates their personal, moral or religious beliefs.

One of many problems with this poorly-written "conscience clause" is
confusion about its scope: the vagueness of the rule could lead it to
limiting everything from HIV tests to blood transfusions to emergency contraception for rape victims

Problems with the rule change had already begun cropping up. Two alarming examples from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology:

In one, a Virginia mother of two became pregnant because she was
denied emergency contraception. In another, a rape victim in Texas had
her prescription for emergency contraception rejected by a pharmacist.

While right-wing ideologues are claiming this a rabid pro-choice move, we beg to differ.

First of all, revisiting the Bush "conscience clause" rule does NOT
mean that providers who object to performing abortions will have to
provide them. No provider will have to perform abortions against their
will. There is a 30-year history of legislation (three separate laws in fact) that protects such providers. (Someone needs to tell FRC,
since Tony Perkins thinks "…President Obama is planning to bow down
to pro-abortion forces [to] stop enforcement of laws enacted to protect
the choice of healthcare providers not to participate in abortion.")

The "conscience clause" is not only vague and potentially harmful to patients, but it also undermines the goal of reducing abortions because it potentially blocks women’s access to services like birth control. Consider: 98%
of women of child-bearing age, who have ever had sexual intercourse,
have used some form of contraception. Obviously, contraception is key
to preventing unintended pregnancies. Preventing access to
contraception runs counter to the Obama administration’s clearly stated
goal of preventing unintended pregnancies and reducing abortions.

Also important to note: HHS is holding a 30-day comment period, open
to the public. The Obama Administration is concerned about the
consequences of the scope of the Bush "conscience clause," but they
also understand the need to clarify the existing rules and want to
fully understand and address the concerns of providers.

This post first appeared on Faith in the Public Life’s blog.

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  • invalid-0

    re:the rape victim in Texas. My understanding was that if a rape victim goes to a hospital she is povided with a “morning after pill” and if the hospital is a Catholic hospital she is still given acess to the same pill. It might not come from a hospital employee but for the patient the access should be just as quick. Is this incorrect? thank you

  • invalid-0

    Please spare us the nonsense, Kristen. First, birth control pills sometimes fail, the new life is conceived, and the pill acts as an abortifacient- meaning the newly created life is inhibited from implanting on the uterine wall (so, in addition to the added promiscuity contraception encourages which also leads to more abortions, it actually causes more abortions via the method described). Now, you claim as your two adverse, harmful cases of the conscience clause: “In one, a Virginia mother of two became pregnant because she was denied emergency contraception. In another, a rape victim in Texas had her prescription for emergency contraception rejected by a pharmacist.” You continue “The “conscience clause” is not only vague and potentially harmful to patients. . . ”

    So, your obvious implication is that crazy, pro-life pharmacists should not be able to refuse to give out something they know causes the destruction of human life. You know full well that Obama would like to obliterate any rights of pro-life physicians; just as you would if you had the opportunity and power.

  • invalid-0

    The above comment illustrates the fact that pro-lifers only care about potential life, not the actual lives that their an-acorn-is-an-oak-tree policies and beliefs disproportionately affect.

    I am tired of the battle for control of women’s uteri. We own them, and the contents therein. We get to decide when we want to bring life into the world, or not at all. Not you, not your pharmacists, not your church. We are human too. Get over it.

  • invalid-0

    First, birth control pills sometimes fail, the new life is conceived, and the pill acts as an abortifacient- meaning the newly created life is inhibited from implanting on the uterine wall

    We’re talking about Emergency Contraception here. It was conjectured to reduce the chance of implantation. Several studies have since found no difference in fertility if the pill is taken after ovulation vs. when it is not taken at all. There is no scientific evidence that Plan B actually prevents ovulation.

    On the other hand, here is a short list of things that are known to reduce the chance of implantation:

    Drinking coffee
    Horseback riding
    Aerobics
    Sleep deprivation

    So you see, if we think that being conjectured to reduce the chance of implantation is enough to justify a ban on something, then logically the only recourse is to literally control every aspect of women’s lives any time they’ve recently been sexually active. Do you think that’s rational? Following such a principle reduces women to nothing but incubators. Any sane person must actively reject the premise that women are morally obligated to remain maximally fertile at all times.

  • invalid-0

    So, your obvious implication is that crazy, pro-life pharmacists should not be able to refuse to give out something they know causes the destruction of human life.

    Yawn. We’ve been through this before. Refuse all you want, but make sure someone else is on hand to do what you refuse to.

  • invalid-0

    To you radical leftists, ignorance is bliss. First off, it is not conjecture that emergency contraceptives act as abortifacients. Read the 6,000 or so fine print insert (including the many multiple dangers to the woman) and also look at the physician’s desk notes on these drugs. You may be quite surprised at the truth. But that’s right- you’re not too keen on reality- just living your lives any which way you please; with the attitude that Christians are supposed to endorse any and every wrongdoing you promote, ie. pharmacists have a duty to aid and abet murder. Just because the scientifically proven, newly created person at conception doesn’t look like you or a toddler (which has more sense than you), doesn’t mean he or she is not a person. Ever heard the quote from Horton Hears a Who: “A person is a person no matter how small.”? Horton is a lot smarter than you.

  • invalid-0

    Dear “please spare us,”

    You are correct in stating that sometimes birth control pills do fail. However, when they do fail, and conception occurs, they are NOT effective at preventing implantation and are therefore NOT abortive in nature. When conception occurs, regular doses of any hormonal birth control pill will not abort a pregnancy.

    The RU-486 “abortion pill” and regular birth control pills are not the same thing and do not have the same functions. Please do not confuse them.

    Finally, if your beliefs against abortion spring from the Christian tradition, you’d be remiss to judge anyone else. It is a logical fallacy to state that birth control pills “encourage” promiscuity. Many responsible, monogamous couples use the pill (and other forms of contraception) to prevent pregnancies.

    Have a nice day. God bless.

  • invalid-0

    “All great truths begin as blasphemies.”

    The church also persecuted Galileo for saying that the world wasn’t flat….

    …sometimes the Church just gets it wrong. the only difference is they don’t admit to it after the fact.

  • invalid-0

    You are a very angy and unbalanced sounding person. A person becomes a person at birth, when it can breathe and function on it’s own, NOT anytime before then. You sound pretty weired (but, it is somehow fitting) quoting a child’s book and reading something into it that just isn’t there. You could use some professional help for your issues and hate against women and “leftists”.

  • invalid-0

    Hmm weird and unbalanced? Would you call someone who vehemently supports sucking an almost completely born baby’s brains out or ripping a baby apart limb by limb or poisioning an unborn baby with salt, etc, etc. sane and balanced? Just wondering. For a response, please leave out the extremely weak excuse that I just don’t care about the mothers- I do- but we’re talking about the babies here; don’t deflect- stay on point.

  • invalid-0

    Actually, Yes, the pill does prevent implantation. All you need to do is read the instructions that come with your pill refill each month. The pill is first designed to prevent ovulation at a certain time of the month. If that doesn’t work the hormones in the pill which cause a thickening and acidity to the uterine lining will prevent the implanted egg from being able to attach thus aborts it from the body. The RU480 pill is simply an ‘overdose’ of the same mini pill a woman takes each month.
    Do some research into Margret Sanger. She developed the pill to achieve a ‘perfect humanity’. to rid society of blacks and less than perfectly healthy humans (sounds a little like Hitler, doesn’t it?!)
    And of course the pill promotes promiscuity! That’s not even worth debating, it’s simple common sense. It might not be the reason for all people but it’s like saying not everyone drinks alcohol to get a buzz. True, but isn’t it a likely outcome?
    Why is it that a man was just charged with a DOUBLE homocide for killing his pregnant girlfriend? It is because we determaine a person’s right to life by their “wantedness”. That baby was wanted by that mother so the death of it was a murder. If that same woman decided to abort that baby (end its life purposely–just as the boyfriend decided to do) she could do so without any repurcussion because of the level of “wantedness” she had for that child! Twisted, isn’t it?

  • invalid-0

    Babies have been born at 18 weeks inutero and lived. Born at 1 lb. So that baby was viable. How do you then defend they aren’t human til they are born? Ever see a sonogram?
    The heart beats at 21 days after conception—do the math—that is even before a woman knows she is pregnant.
    Do you know what partial birth abortion is?
    Have you ever read any post abortive stories from woman so you know what is actually involved? I would guess not.
    Remember this: IF IT’S NOT A BABY THEN YOU ARE NOT PREGNANT!

  • therealistmom

    The youngest preterm infant to have ever survived on record that I can find was almost 22 weeks, and weighed 10 ounces. No way in hell an 18 week fetus could weigh anywhere near a pound… the average for an 18 week is about 5.5 inches total crown-to-rump length and about 6.7 ounces.

     

    Here is what the Visible Embryo (a neutral information site) has to say about the aproximately 21 day mark:

    1.5 – 2.5 mm

    TIME PERIOD: 19 – 21 days post-ovulation
    Looking at the embryo from the top, the head end is wider than the tail end, with a slightly narrowed middle.

    Somites, which are composed of mesoderm, appear on either side of the neural groove. The first pair of somites appear at the tail and progress to the middle. One to three pairs of somites are present by Stage 9.

    Every ridge, bump and recess now indicates cellular differentiation.

    A head fold rises on either side of the primitive streak. The primitive streak now runs between one-fourth to one-third of the length of the embryo.

    Secondary blood vessels now appear in the chorion/placenta. Hematopoietic cells appear on the yolk sac simultaneously with endothelial cells which will go on to form blood vessels for the newly emerging blood cells.

    Endocardial (muscle) cells begin to fuse and form into the early embryo’s two heart tubes.

     

    The next stage is this:

    SIZE: 1.5 – 3.0 mm

    TIME PERIOD: 21- 23 days post-ovulationn
    Rapid cellular growth and change elongates the embryo and expands the yolk sac.

    On each side of the neural tube, between four and twelve pairs of somites can exist by the end of Stage 10. The cells which become the eyes appear as thickened circles just off of the neural folds. The newly differentiated cells of the ears are also present.

    Neural folds are rising and fusing at several points along the length of the neural tube concomitant with the budding somites which appear to "zipper" the neural tube closed. Neural crest cells will eventually contribute to the skull and face of the embryo.

    The two endocardial tubes formed in Stage 9 now fuse in Stage 10. Together they form one single tube generated from the cells of the "roof" of the nueral tube. The heart tube takes on an S-shape establishing the asymetry of the heart. As the S-shape forms, cardiac muscle contraction begins

     

    "Cardiac muscle contractions begin" could be interpreted as a "beating heart" in some manne, but at this point the embyronic heart is a tube of cells and the contractions do not pump any kind of blood into any sort of circulatory system.

     

    Try again.

     

         
             
         

    SIZE: 1.5 – 2.5 mm

    TIME PERIOD: 19 – 21 days post-ovulation


    Looking at the embryo from the top, the head end is wider than the tail end, with a slightly narrowed middle.

    Somites, which are composed of mesoderm, appear on either side of the
    neural groove. The first pair of somites appear at the tail and
    progress to the middle. One to three pairs of somites are present by
    Stage 9.

    Every ridge, bump and recess now indicates cellular differentiation.

    A head fold rises on either side of the primitive streak. The primitive
    streak now runs between one-fourth to one-third of the length of the
    embryo.

    Secondary blood vessels now appear in the chorion/placenta.
    Hematopoietic cells appear on the yolk sac simultaneously with
    endothelial cells which will go on to form blood vessels for the newly
    emerging blood cells.

    Endocardial (muscle) cells begin to fuse and form into the early embryo’s two heart tubes.

  • invalid-0

    Where did I get my info…..hmmm…Oh–from my cousin who was 1 lb at birth and lived at that age! Your facts are off, no surprise.
    Again, you get stuck on one point.

    If it isn’t a baby then you aren’t pregnant!
    Pro choice means that you decide how wanted the baby is and then it either has a right to live or not. Period.
    You don’t know what an abortion is! this is the truth:
    http://www.priestsforlife.org/resources/photosassorted/LateTermAbortions/abortedbaby05.html

  • therealistmom

    … that image has been debunked a bunch of times by different (neutral!) sources as not being what the anti-choicers claim it to be? And your "cousin"… well, I’m sorry to say, I’m sure they were a preemie and we’ve come a long way in helping early-term births to survive… but they weren’t 18 weeks. That’s simply an impossibility based on actual medical science. Go hit that little google button and start reading up on REAL medical sites, not anti-choice ones.