• 82°

Health care rule must remain

With all the furor over AIG bonuses and toxic assets, it would be easy to overlook other actions taken by the Obama administration. But we shouldn’t let that happen.

In February, President Obama’s administration took the first steps toward abolishing a controversial rule mandated by the Bush administration that protected the rights of U.S. health care workers who refused to participate in abortions and other care on moral or religious grounds.

The law, which went into effect Jan. 20, also prevents hospitals, clinics and other groups that receive federal money from discriminating against workers who refuse to participate in care they find objectionable. While that care most often refers to abortions, it could extend to the use of contraceptives, family planning and counseling for vaccines, even blood transfusions.

Even though it may be a bit vague and broad, the law protects a basic freedom of conscience and religion that we believe all Americans are entitled to have. By rescinding the law, the government is allowing health care agencies to force health care workers to either perform procedures against their core beliefs or leave their jobs.

Taking that protection away is a dangerous path to tread. And a frightening one.

Fortunately, it is not a done deal. The Department of Health and Human Services is accepting public comments on the proposed regulation changes until April 9. You can make comments via their Web site, www.Regulations.gov (by entering 0991-AB49 in the search box) or via email to proposedrescission@hhs.gov.

We encourage you to lend your voice to this debate and let your government know that we must continue to protect an individual’s right to his or her belief’s. It’s a foundation of our American society.