Despite the coordinated social conservative attack on women, families, unions and the LGBT community, there is some very good news to report. The Obama Administration has repealed the much-criticized "provider conscience" regulations that have been used to discriminate against gay men, lesbians, transgender men and women, persons with HIV/AIDS, and women seeking contraception and abortions.
The Washington Post:
The Obama administration on Friday finally rescinded most of a federal regulation designed to protect those who refuse to provide care they find objectionable on moral or religious grounds. The decision guts one of President George W. Bush's most controversial legacies: a rule that was widely interpreted as shielding workers who refuse to participate in a range of medical services, such as providing birth control pills, caring for gay men with AIDS and performing in-vitro fertilization for lesbians or single women.
Friday's move was seen as an important step in countering that trend, which in recent years had led pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for the emergency contraceptive Plan B, doctors in California to reject a lesbian's request for infertility treatment, and an ambulance driver in Chicago to turn away a woman who needed transportation for an abortion.
The new rule leaves intact only long-standing "conscience" protections for doctors and nurses who do not want to perform abortions or sterilizations. It also retains the process for allowing health workers whose rights are violated to file complaints.
In 2009, R20 reported: "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 also accused several Walgreens locations of refusing to sell condoms to gay men."
The new rule, goes into effect in 30 days. But it is likely to exacerbate the debate over health care, a women's right to choose, and HIV/AIDS funding.
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