Thursday, July 31, 2008
Here is a recent article on rights of conscience in health care. The article deals with the draft HHS regs. One of the key issues involves the proposed definition of "abortion." The proposed definition states that an abortion is "any of the various procedures--including the prescription and administration of any drug or the perfromance of any procedure or any other action--that results in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation." The controversy is whether this definition is an effort to restrict the availability of "birth control." It seems that the Post article emphasizes the views of the critics of the HHS proposal on this point. I mentioned to the reporter that some medical authorities had redefined pregnancy as beginning at implantation rather than at fertilization, but that this change was not due to any new science on the issue. The reporter mentions, without any sense of irony, that a critic of the HHS proposal states that the HHS definition is ideologically based.
Even if there is room for reasonable disagreement on this point, isn't that the reason for the existing federal law that protects conscience in this area? If everyone agrees on what is a reasonable course of conduct, then we don't need protection for conscience.