Watch out, "conscience" law!

Obama follows his own sense of right and wrong on Bush's midnight regulation.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

Published February 28, 2009 11:30AM (EST)

It's Good News Friday, ya'll: Plans were announced today to reverse Bush's unconscionable "provider conscience rule." In case you've missed Broadsheet's many warnings about the measure, it broadly allows workers to refuse to participate in artificial insemination, end-of-life care, abortions (at any level, including providing referrals and cleaning instruments), prescribing or dispensing birth control -- the list goes on and on. In short: It compromises women's access to basic healthcare and effectively gives doctors the right to make personal and religious decisions  for you -- forget practicing medicine!

So, there is plenty of reason to celebrate the fact that the Obama administration will officially start down this long road next week, according to NPR. The public will be given 30 days to comment and it sounds like the administration will actually listen: "We believe that this is a complex issue that requires a thoughtful process where all voices can be heard," an anonymous administration source said. "We feel there is an important balance to be struck, but we feel the Bush rule unnecessarily imposed new restrictions on women and providers when it comes to health care." This could mean anything from overturning the measure outright to crafting a new one from scratch.

Now, I know, anyone who has watched the loads of challenges to the rule fail might worry that the road to a reversal will be a bumpy one. But rest assured that at least one of the suits against the regulation will remain, despite Obama's plan: Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal told the New York Times that he'll push forward with his legal challenge until the measure is “finally and safely stopped.” Good, because I can't take this "conscience" rule weighing on my consciousness for much longer.

Tracy Clark-Flory

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