Abortion rule challenged, official says
WASHINGTON - President Obama wants to rescind a Bush administration rule that strengthened job protections for doctors and nurses who refuse for moral reasons to perform abortions.
A Health and Human Services official said yesterday that the administration will publish notice of its intentions early next week, opening a 30-day comment period for advocates, medical groups, and the public.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the notice has not been completed.
The Bush administration instituted the rule in its last days, and it was quickly challenged in federal court by several states and medical organizations. As a candidate, Obama criticized the regulation and campaign aides promised that if elected, he would review it.
The news he was doing so drew praise from abortion rights supporters and condemnation from antiabortion groups.
"It would be a horrible move. These regulations were a long time coming," said Tom McClusky, a vice president at Family Research Council. "What they seek to do is protect patients, nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals from being forced to violate their consciences."
McClusky and other abortion opponents said the Bush regulation clarified federal policies.