*The Bush administration yesterday granted sweeping new protections to health workers who refuse to provide care that violates their personal beliefs, setting off an intense battle over
The far-reaching regulation cuts off federal funding for any state or local government, hospital, health plan, clinic or other entity that does not accommodate doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other employees who refuse to participate in care they find ethically, morally or religiously objectionable. It was sought by conservative groups, abortion opponents and others to safeguard workers from being fired, disciplined or penalized in other ways.
Leavitt initially said the regulation was intended primarily to protect workers **who object to abortion. The final rule, however, affects a far broader array of services, protecting workers who do not wish to dispense birth control pills, Plan B emergency contraceptives and other forms of contraception they consider equivalent to abortion, or to inform patients where they might obtain such care. The rule could also protect workers who object to certain types of end-of-life care or to withdrawing care, or even perhaps providing care to unmarried people or gay men and lesbians. *+scientific research, as well as, stem-cell, & other, treatments when they become available in the future]
While primarily aimed at doctors and nurses, it offers protection to anyone with a “reasonable” connection to objectionable care – including ultrasound technicians, nurses aides, secretaries and even janitors who might have to clean equipment used in procedures they deem objectionable.