Lynn v. Sekulow

A proposed regulationfrom the Department of Health and Human Services regarding health care workers’religious “rights” is already causing considerable controversy–and it should!  The Department placed the rule on displayAug. 21 for a 30-day public comment period. The comments will be reviewedbefore the Department puts forth a final regulation.


The regulation never should have been released for publiccomment and ought to be discarded in a circular repository for badconstitutional law and bad medical science.   


The regulation is, to quote the draft, based on claims thathealth care workers are now “required to violate their conscience by promotingor assisting in the provision of controversial medicine or procedures.”  To stop this, the regulation would prohibitany funds going to institutions or even states that don’t grant this sweepingexemption from duty. Now, abortion is a “procedure,” so what is a “controversialmedicine”?  It seems clear to me that itis any drug that the Religious Right and its allies considers an”abortifacient”–an abortion inducing substance.


But wait. You don’thave to accept my characterization.  Anearlier draft leaked to the press actually defined “abortion” to include “theprescription, dispensing and administration of any drug…that results in thetermination of life of a human being in utero between conception and naturalbirth, whether before or after implantation.”

As noted by Representative TomAllen on The Hill Congress Blog, nothing in the published regulation contradicts this broaddefinition. In addition, as per Jay’s previous comments on this matter in ourdiscussion of a Californiacase, this is intended to cover even workers requested to refer a patient,train a physician or other health worker, or arrange for the distribution ofsomething like Plan B or an IUD.


As Jill Morrison over at the National Womens’ Law Centercommented to the Washington Post:”You could imagine a group of people with less than honorable intentionsseeking to get hired at a family planning clinic with the specific objective ofobstructing access.” 

Sadly, I don’tthink we’d be imagining this for long–it is likely the intent of the draftersto make this happen. 

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