This is not the first time the Bush Administration has tried to tweak policy in these closing days, and it won’t be the last. But it is disheartening nonetheless. The Times:
A last-minute Bush administration plan to grant sweeping new protections to health care providers who oppose abortion and other procedures on religious or moral grounds has provoked a torrent of objections, including a strenuous protest from the government agency that enforces job discrimination laws.
The proposed rule would prohibit recipients of federal money from discriminating against doctors, nurses and other health care workers who refuse to perform or to assist in the performance of abortions or sterilization procedures because of their “religious beliefs or moral convictions.”
…three officials from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, including its legal counsel, whom President Bush appointed, said the proposal would overturn 40 years of civil rights law prohibiting job discrimination based on religion….
The Civil Rights Act already prohibits employment discrimination based on religion. This is fundamentally about protecting pro-lifers who don’t want to hand out contraception or perform abortions. That is, making family planning more difficult in America.
The opponents of the new rule include Democratic politicians (including Obama), abortion rights groups, pharmacies, and many states. Notes the Times, “State officials said the rule could void state laws that require insurance plans to cover contraceptives and require hospitals to offer emergency contraception to rape victims.” That’s frightening. If this change was so easily done by the Bush Administration, hopefully it will be just as easily undone by the Obama one.