This blog was first posted on The Hill.
ecently, 28 Members joined me in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, asking her to rescind the review of the current conscience protection regulation.
Given President Obama’s commencement address last month at the University of Notre Dame, where he spoke about abortion, it was necessary to send the letter to the HHS Secretary, as she runs the department that oversees the enforcement of conscience protection laws. We need to hold this Administration’s feet to the fire and ensure President Obama’s actions match his well-scripted rhetoric. If he is declaring his Administration to be one of choice, then health care workers should have the choice to not perform an abortion without fear or coercion
In the letter we wrote: “We respectfully request that you honor the deeply held convictions of millions of Americans and rescind the review of the current conscience protection regulation. In the absence of guidance and education, cases of discrimination may go unchecked and professionals may continue to leave their fields, exacerbating the health care workforce crisis that is already plaguing our country. Additionally, we urge you to commit to defending conscience protections in future rulemaking that affects both individual and institutional health care providers.”
Last February, the Obama Administration announced that it began “reviewing” the regulations implementing conscience laws, the first step toward rescinding the rule altogether. We have yet to hear whether the Administration will stop this review. The letter can be read here.