Medical civil liberties threatened by rollback of Provider Conscience Clause


Just at the deadline for responding to the AAPS action to intervene in lawsuits challenging the Provider Conscience Clause, the Obama Administration started rulemaking to rescind the Clause completely.

This signals the intention of the Administration to refuse to enforce laws duly passed by Congress to protect medical professionals against discrimination for refusing to participate in procedures that violate their conscience, write Newt Gingrich and Rick Tyler ( 3/16/09).

These laws include the 1973 “Church Amendments,” the 1976 Public Health Services Act Amendment, and the 2004 “Hyde-Weldon Amendment.” The last prohibits certain federal funds from going to agencies or programs that discriminate against providers who decline to offer or refer for abortions.

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said the Conscience Clause was necessary to protect against growing intolerance for those acting on certain religious beliefs.

Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, said “We have seen a variety of efforts to force Catholic and other healthcare providers to perform or refer for abortions or sterilizations.”

The rule places no restrictions on any legal medical procedure. The Obama Administration, however, referred to comments asserting that “individuals could be denied access to services, with effects felt disproportionately by those in rural areas or otherwise underserved” (Steve Ertelt, 3/6/09).

Apparently, the “right” of some to receive a service implies the obligation of others to provide it, regardless of their opinion about the morality or harmfulness of the procedure.

At a meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), a representative of President Obama denied that abortion has any negative effects on women. In response to a question about the scientific evidence of detriment to the lives and health of women, Ellen Chesler dismissed the evidence as “unreliable because it has ideological elements” (Steven Ertelt, 3/12/08). Chesler is former senior fellow at the Open Society Institute founded by George Soros, where she directed a $35 million “reproductive rights” program.

The evidence included three studies published in 2008 from the U.S., New Zealand, and Australia. These showed a 30 percent higher incidence of depression and other mental-health problems, a 120 percent increase in risk of alcohol abuse, and a 79 percent increase in risk of drug abuse in women who had had an abortion.

Obama also supported $50 million in funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which is complicit in using forced abortions and sterilizations to enforce China’s one-child policy, state Gingrich and Tyler.

The deadline for the 30-day comment period is April 9, 2009. You can submit comments to [email protected]. Put “Rescission Proposal” in the subject line of your email. You can also submit comments through

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  1. The problem here is foundational (philosophical) and the closest this AAPS News of Day article comes to that foundational point is the sentence:
    “Apparently, the “right” of some to receive a service implies the obligation of others to provide it, regardless of their opinion about the morality or harmfulness of the procedure.”
    All the rest of the arguments are secondary (actually immaterial), and they can be sidestepped one way or another by whoever they are given to. Additionally, one would have to individually address every example of a procedure/treatment that one or some practitioners do not want to include and what type of patient/client to which one wants or does not want to render service. And this foundational issue applies not just to health care, but to every aspect of life – food, clothing, shelter, education, transportation, entertainment, etc…. everything.

    This one point of implied obligation by the acceptance of “rights” needs to be recognized by each individual and addressed head-on without any backing away. Government in all its multiples of laws/rules/edicts creating/defining dozens of agencies/departments/bureaus/etc has done just what the Constitution has allowed it to – “to…promote the general welfare”, since that can mean anything to anyone. This wording in the US Constitution has been one of its major holes. (For a more thorough critique see ) What has developed since the writing of the Constitution, gradually at first and ever more rapidly, is a societal system in which some can and are designated in various ways to be the means to the ends of others. Wants are turned into rights, which some then are obliged to fill – government makes no money; it only takes and then distributes what remains after the bureaucratic expenditures. Those who will have their wants filled and those who must do the filling (most often individuals are in both groups to some degree by way of taxation) are decided by the rulers – those persons who have promised enough goodies to be elected by the majority (democracy) into positions to then call the shots, with the guns of enforcers available to see that those laws/rules/edicts/mandates/etc. are carried out. Now in essence it is the enforcers who are the key, since without them all those reams of paper holding all those billions of words (less than the trillions of dollars newly called for to be taxed and spent) would be worthless – except for papering the walls of all those government buildings. When large numbers of enforcers are discouraged from enforcing as a result of being socially preferenced against (negative social preferencing) by others, the unenforced laws/rules/etc will be useless – I do not expect any of the legislators and/or executives (President being the chief federal) to get out and enforce any laws they have written or signed. (For more explanation on social preferencing see )

    In this current mess of a society – the tattered remnants of a free market – the health practitioner who takes no government money in any form is the freest from government encumbrances in his/her (hir) field. S/he and hir client/patient voluntarily enter into an arrangement of consultation/service for an agreed direct payment. If government funding is accepted, there is no way to avoid the situation of the piper calling the tune, this “piper” being one with the legal use of force to back its demands.

    Kitty Antonik Wakfer
    Casa Grande AZ

  2. The attempt to overturn laws that allow a medical provider to decline
    participation in providing or refering for abortions is a threat to the law human rights and conscience.



  4. Every morning I awake wondering what Marxist President Obama will do today to further destroy our ailing Country. He has prioritized the greatest Medical system for complete destruction as we once knew it.

    More and more compassionate doctors are being fined or imprisoned while the rest face complex, time consuming rules if they are to continue to practice. This insanity must cease!

  5. Robert Scovner’s father refused to treat obstetrics patients after taking a look at an extremely obese patient.

    72-year-old Dr Scovner has the right to treat or not treat any patient that he wishes.