Conscience Protection Policies
In 2009, the Obama Administration issued a proposed rule to rescind a conscience protection regulation promulgated by the Bush Administration. In 2011, the Obama Administration issued a final rule. A spokesperson for the bishops’ conference described the final rule as “a cause for disappointment,” but also noted that the Administration said it would take steps to ensure compliance with existing laws. Recently hopes in this area were dashed when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declined to renew a church contract to provide assistance to victims of human trafficking. In instructions to grant applicants, HHS stated that they would give “strong preference” to applicants willing to offer referrals for the “full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care,” including family planning services.
Please click here for more detailed information on the Conscience Protection Regulation in the Review of Legislation section of this report.