Monday, August 11, 2008

Pushing their luck

Grab those Crying Towels! Oh, boo hoo hooooo! Pernicious "pro-life" dingbats with friends in high places in the US Department of Health & Human Services are finding out what happens when you push your vile madness a little too far.

Yep, good old "conscience legislation", the bane of anyone who wants safe and timely access to health care. The HHS has been considering a "conscience" regulation that would allow anti-choice doctors and pharmacists to opt out of doing their jobs procedures they don't personally approve of. Unfortunately, the fundie faction pushed its luck by adding a clause which would effectively define contraception as abortion. After meeting with righteous outrage from, well, Anyone With Their Head Screwed On, the HHS is now backing off the proposed regulation, and wants a do-over:
"HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt in a Thursday entry in his professional blog said that he wants draft HHS regulations rewritten with a narrow focus on allowing health care workers to refuse to participate in procedures they find objectionable..." [...]

"Leavitt said that HHS is "still contemplating if it will issue a regulation or not. If it does, it will be directly focused on the protection of practitioner conscience" (Fox, Reuters, 8/8). However, Leavitt did not say what he meant by "practitioner conscience" or the extent to which the protection would allow health care workers to deny services."
Secretary Leavitt blogs in response to criticism here:
"An early draft of the regulations found its way into public circulation before it had reached my review. It contained words that lead some to conclude my intent is to deal with the subject of contraceptives, somehow defining them as abortion. Not true."

Leavitt insists the new rule is not an attack on contraception. Do we believe him? Naaaahhhh! He's busted!, and it won't be easy to pull this one off now. Furious fetus fetishists at the American "Birth Control Pill Kills" League know this too, and are blowing. their. lights.:

"Why is Secretary Mike Leavitt kowtowing to birth control companies and abortion activists?" asked Jen Catelli, American Life League director of media relations. "If he is seeking to protect conscience rights of those who want nothing to do with abortion, he needs to recognize that contraceptives can cause abortions."

Sure it does, and that's why ALL's anti-BC pill campaign in June was such a resounding suck-sess! And now, ALL because they pushed the issue, instead of getting the regressive conscience rule they wanted, they may not get any conscience rule at all. OOPS! Pushing one's luck can sometimes end badly.

"Conscience legislation" is a steaming load whatever way you look at it. A commenter at Leavitt's blog summed it up nicely:
"If I run a trucking company, and I have one employee who refuses to deliver goods to red houses due to his religious beliefs, I may try to accommodate that need by providing alternate truckers where possible to provide service to that house, which deserves service and whose business I need. But if at some point his belief issues extend to green houses as well, then there is a serious problem, which can only be resolved by his either looking for work amenable to his freely held beliefs, or by his finding a way to keep his beliefs out of my trucking business."

Take note, fetus fetishists.