Last-minute Bush abortion ruling causes furor...
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."
It would also prevent hospitals, clinics, doctors' offices and drugstores
from requiring employees with religious or moral objections to "assist in the
performance of any part of a health service program or research activity"
financed by the Department of Health and Human Services.
But three officials from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,
including its legal counsel, whom President George W. Bush appointed, said the
proposal would overturn 40 years of civil rights law prohibiting job
discrimination based on religion.