Saturday, September 27, 2008

Christian Legal Society and Fellowship of Christian Physician Assistants supports proposed rule protecting health care right of conscience

On Thursday, the Center for Law & Religious Freedom (CLRF), on behalf of the Christian Legal Society (CLS) and the Fellowship of Christian Physician Assistants (FCPA), submitted comments in support of a rule proposed by the Department of Health & Human Services "Ensuring that Department of Health and Human Services Funds Do Not Support Coercive or Discriminatory Policies or Practices In Violation of Federal Law." Dep't of Health & Human Services, 73 Fed. Reg. 50279 (proposed Aug. 26, 2008) (to be codified at 45 C.F.R. pt. 88) (read the full text of the provider conscience regulation)

From the comments:

The pending regulations do not impose any new substantive obligations on HHS
grantees. Rather, they simply require grantees to certify that they comply with
the existing protections for medical professionals' rights of conscience. But as
the above illustrates, holding HHS grantees responsible for legal requirements
that they have ignored for decades is no small thing. The unfortunate fact is
that while federal law explicitly protects medical professionals from being
forced to perform or refer for abortions against their conscience, in practice
HHS grantees have been unaware of or ignored these laws. The pending regulations
are a necessary and important insurance that HHS grantees will not use federal
taxpayers' money to compel persons to perform abortions or provide abortion
referrals in violation of their consciences. Please issue these regulations at
the earliest possible date.