Washington, D.C. (27 August 2008) – American Life League President Judie Brown formally commented on the Department of Health and Human Services' proposed regulation protecting the conscience rights of health care workers. The HHS proposed regulation is in the midst of a 30-day comment period.
"It has been a long time coming," Brown said of the regulation.
The HHS proposal "Ensuring that Department of Health and Human Services Funds Do Not Support Coercive or Discriminatory Policies or Practices in Violation of Federal Law" was released August 21 and would enforce nationwide protection and anti-discrimination regulations for pro-life pharmacists and medical workers.
"The Department of Health and Human Services is recognizing the fact that it is indeed a form of discrimination for employers to expect, if not demand, that their employees compromise their consciences," she continued.
According to the HHS press release, the regulation would:
- "Clarify that non-discrimination protections apply to institutional health care providers as well as to individual employees working for recipients of certain funds from HHS;
- "Require recipients of certain HHS funds to certify their compliance with laws protecting provider conscience rights;
- "Designate the HHS Office for Civil Rights as the entity to receive complaints of discrimination addressed by the existing statutes and the proposed regulation; and
- "Charge HHS officials to work with any state or local government or entity that may be in violation of existing statutes and the proposed regulation to encourage voluntary steps to bring that government or entity into compliance with the law. If, despite the Department's efforts, compliance is not achieved, HHS officials will consider all legal options, including termination of funding and the return of funds paid out in violation of the nondiscrimination provisions."
While Brown was pleased the proposed regulation would enforce conscience laws, she also said the wording was disappointing. Previous drafts of the regulation recognized and defined abortion to include hormonal contraceptives.
"This is a bittersweet moment for preborn children," Brown said. "While we recognize the proposal as a sign that the federal government wants to stop the type of discriminatory action recommended by the American Medical Association earlier this year, it is clear that the Department of Health and Human Services will continue to pander to the proponents of chemical abortion."
American Life League was cofounded in 1979 by Judie Brown. It is the largest grassroots Catholic pro-life organization in the United States and is committed to the protection of all innocent human beings from the moment of creation to death. For more information or media inquiries, please contact Katie Walker at 540.659.4942.
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