WASHINGTON (AP) - In its final days, the Bush administration is
issuing a federal rule reinforcing protections for doctors and
other health-care workers who refuse to participate in abortions
and other procedures because of religious or moral objections.
Critics of the rule say the protections are so broad that they limit a patient's right to get care and accurate information. For example, they fear the rule could make it possible for a pharmacy clerk to refuse to sell birth control pills and face no ramifications from an employer.
Under longstanding federal law, institutions may not discriminate against individuals who refuse to perform abortions or provide a referral for one. The administration's rule, issued Thursday, is intended to ensure that federal funds don't flow to providers who violate those laws.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)