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Protests over a rule to protect health providers

New York Times, November 18, 2008

A Bush administration plan to grant new protections to healthcare providers who oppose abortion and other procedures on religious or moral grounds has provoked a torrent of objections. The proposed rule would prohibit recipients of federal money from discriminating against doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers who refuse to perform or to assist in the performance of abortions or sterilization procedures because of their "religious beliefs or moral convictions." It would also prevent hospitals, clinics, doctors' offices, and drugstores from requiring employees with religious or moral objections to "assist in the performance of any part of a health service program or research activity" financed by the Department of Health and Human Services.