The right of conscience is a time-honored value in our society. But it is not only health providers who have rights; so do patients.
Health care providers already strain to serve women while respecting workers’ rights under existing laws. Now Secretary Leavitt has put even more obstacles between patients and the health care they need.
Under HHS’s new rule, doctors and health care workers of all kinds can deny patients vital health care information and services, without the patient even knowing.
Today’s provider conscience regulations go so far as to put the onus on patients to divine what information and services might be withheld by any given provider, and then shop around to find alternatives.
The HHS provider conscience expansion is just one example of an insidious effort by religious right groups to tip the balance away from patient access to care and toward conscience exemptions without consequences.