News: Controversial conscience regulation frozen by Obama

March 1, 2009

President Obama froze all regulations created by the Bush administration with regard to health-care personnel and abortion and contraception.

In the final days of the Bush administration, the Department of Health and Human Services issued its final Provider Conscience Regulation, which grants new protections to health-care personnel who refuse to help perform abortions, dispense contraceptives, or provide other care because of religious beliefs or moral convictions. According to ACOG Legislative & Regulatory News (12/19/08), the regulation does not require health-care personnel to provide a referral or to alert patients that they are receiving incomplete information. The regulation went into effect on January 17, 2009.

President Obama has stated his objection to the new regulation and recently froze all the regulations created by the outgoing administration pending a detailed review. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has urged Mr. Obama to make this reversal a priority and is exploring all avenues for doing so.