April 8th, 2009
02:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Christian doctors' group protests rolling back 'conscience' rule

 The rule protects the rights of health care providers who refuse to participate in certain procedures.
The rule protects the rights of health care providers who refuse to participate in certain procedures.

(CNN) - A organization of Christian physicians argued Wednesday against an impending rollback of a federal rule allowing health care workers to refuse to provide abortions, saying it's discriminatory.

The rule protects the rights of health care providers who refuse to participate in certain procedures.

The Bush White House proposed the rule in August, and it was enacted January 20, the day President Obama took office. It expanded on a 30-year-old law establishing a "conscience clause" for health care professionals who don't want to perform abortions.

Under the rule, workers in health care settings - from doctors to janitors - can refuse to provide services, information or advice to patients on subjects such as contraception, family planning, blood transfusions and even vaccine counseling if they are morally against it.

The Obama administration is expected to reverse the rule shortly, touching off a new wave of heated debate over what remains one of the most sensitive and emotional hot-button issues in American politics.

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