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Workers’ religious freedom vs. patients’ rights

Washington Post, July 31, 2008

A Bush administration proposal aimed at protecting healthcare workers who object to abortion, and to birth-control methods they consider tantamount to abortion, has escalated to a debate over the balance between religious freedom and patients' rights. The Department of Health and Human Services is reviewing a draft regulation that would deny federal funding to any hospital, clinic, health plan, or other entity that does not accommodate employees who want to opt out of participating in care that runs counter to their personal convictions. The draft proposal has sparked criticism by family planning advocates, women's health activists, and members of Congress who say the regulation would create overwhelming obstacles for women seeking abortions and birth control.