Effectively, until midnight April 9, all citizens have the
opportunity to voice their concerns about HHS’s proposal to rescind
conscience protection laws for health care providers. And while the
clock’s ticking, those who understand what’s happening might want to
let others know that false claims are being made to assure people the language in the proposal still protects the medical field.

Some administration officials, even some congressional
representatives, (and commentors on some blogs) are making this claim.
They’re either intentionally duping people, or (in maybe a few cases)
have read this proposal too quickly. These pdf documents do lend themselves to quick skims.

If you did that, you’d think this plan as enunciated (from about
page 4) in the regulation “Ensuring That Department of Health and Human
Services Funds Do Not Support Coercive or Discriminatory Policies or
Practices in Violation of Federal Law”…(and even the wording of the
title, though bulky)….still upholds conscience protections.

But look again, at what this is. There, under the line
headed “Department of Health and Human Services”, after a few index
numbers, is the statement that this a

Rescission of the Regulation Entitled
“Ensuring That Department of Health and Human Services Funds Do Not
Support Coercive or Discriminatory Policies or Practices in Violation
of Federal Law”

proposal. (Emphasis added)

So all that good language protecting the rights of health care
providers to exercise conscientious medicine according to their ethical
and moral standards…..is what’s being rescinded, if this proposal goes through.

An actively engaged writer sent me a note this morning saying she’s personally been told twice by someone at HHS that

Letters to HHS postmarked by 11:59 p.m. on April 9 and
e-mails sent and phone messages left by that time will definitely be
considered, but likely some letters, and possibly some e-mails, and
calls after that deadline will also be considered, but there’s no
guarantee regarding how long after April 9 new comments to HHS will be
considered.

The HHS worker

also mentioned the possibility that there may be another
public comments period coming if they propose a revised health care
providers’ conscience rule.

So stay alert. Read these proposals carefully. And since some of our
congressional representatives have admittedly been too overloaded
lately to read all the details of what they’re voting on, help them out. This one’s clear.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....