Sanity returns to health care policy. The Barack Obama administration will repeal the much-criticized "provider conscience" regulations that have been used to discriminate against gays, persons with HIV/AIDS, and women seeking abortions.
The regulations, instituted in the last days of the Bush administration, strengthened job protections for doctors and nurses who refuse to provide a medical service over religious beliefs.
Human rights groups say the regulations could impair LGBT patients’ access to care services if interpreted to permit providers to choose patients based upon sexual orientation, gender identity or family structure.
The regulations also threaten women’s access to comprehensive health care by permitting pharmacists to refuse to dispense contraception even when doing so significantly burdens the patient’s access, or to refuse to participate in an emergency abortion even when the woman’s health is at risk.
The regulations, which were rushed through days before Bush left office, override many state laws protecting patients’ access to medical services.
There have reports these regulations have been abused. CVS locations in Washington D.C. have been accused of limiting access to condoms and some pharmacists refuse to dispense birth control pills. Gay activists in Chicago have accused several Walgreens locations of refusing to sell condoms to gay men.
One of President Obama first official acts was to begin the reversal of Bush's much-criticized family-planning and AIDS-prevention strategies that have "linked global funding to anti-abortion and abstinence education." It's about time science and public health concerns replaced religious fundamentalism and right wing screeds in health care policy.
Some Background ...
Obama to Reverse Bush on HIV, Condoms, Abstinence [R20]