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Obama plans to remove 'conscience clause' for health-care personnel

Catholic World News - March 02, 2009

President Barack Obama has directed the Department of Health and Human Services to rescind the "conscience clause" that protects health-care personnel from pressure to participate in procedures they regard as immoral, such as abortion. The "conscience clause" was established by outgoing President George W. Bush in an executive order he released in December 2008. President Obama-- who has already issued an executive order to end the "Mexico City policy" barring taxpayer subsidies for abortion advocacy-- could end this policy as well.

Pro-life leaders quickly denounced the White House plans. David Stevens, the head of the Christian Medical Association, noted that the Obama administration had claimed that the Bush policy was confusing, "without offering a shred of evidence." Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said: "No one should be forced to have an abortion, and no one should be forced to be an abortionist in violation of their religious or ethical convictions." Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who is a medical doctor, said that he would challenge the policy by civil disobedience if necessary.

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