Bush seems determined to make some of his worst decisions in the final days of his presidency. He's just upped the ante by issuing the "conscience" rule, which gives health providers (including pharmacists) the right to refuse performing procedures or giving treatments that are against their religious or moral beliefs.

Here are a few scenarios in which this rule can be applied:

1) Somebody goes to the doctor, learns she is pregnant and subsequently decides to have an abortion (for WHATEVER reason). The doctor believes abortion is immoral. The doctor can not only deny giving her a completely legal abortion, but doesn't need to give her information on how to get one or who to speak to for counsel on having one.

2) A couple decides that in addition to wearing a condom, they will use birth control for extra protection. The local pharmacist, however, believes using birth control is a sin and refuses to fill the completely legal prescription. Said pharmacist does not need to refer the couple to another pharmacy that will fill the prescription.

3) A woman has been living with AIDS after a blood transfusion for several years. She moves to a new town and goes to get her prescription filled a new pharmacy. The local pharmacist believes AIDS is a punishment from God and refuses to fill the completely legal prescription. Said pharmacist, again, does not need to refer this woman to a pharmacy that will fill the prescription.

In all of these scenarios, I've used a different reason that might be against somebody's religious or moral beliefs. In all of these scenarios, the procedure or medication was completely legal. In all of these scenarios, the health provider was not required to give the patient the information they need to receive their legal health care.

If you're as outraged as I am, you can take action NOW! Planned Parenthood has an online petition. Rachel Maddow has posted the phone number for the White House on her show's website (with a link to an MSNBC article) so that we can CALL, CALL, AND CALL AGAIN. We need to act now in order to send a message that we want this rule reversed as soon as possible.

(Cross-posted at The Feminist Underground)


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