Why No Protection of the Right of Conscience?

This morning, the Senate Finance Committee voted down an amendment, proposed by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), that aims to protect the right of conscience of health care workers when it comes to abortion. It was defeated, almost along party lines (Dems voting No, Reps voting Yes).

This is something I don’t understand at all. President Obama clearly stated numerous times that right of conscience would be protected. The Dems in Congress clearly put him at risk by not allowing it to be part of the health care bill.

And also – what is the liberal argument here? This is the kind of thing that fuels those Town Hall meetings. The government should not be able to dictate what a doctor does and does not do. If a doctor or other health care worker objects to abortions, then he/she should be allowed to not perform them. If a doctor morally objects to hangnails, for that matter, he/she should be free not to perform them without the threat of loss of government funding.

Do they object to the specific language (added below) or the general concept? Whichever way, this kind of thing is why the opposition to government-run health care (or whatever the current terminology) is so vehement.

Again, what is the argument here? My question is genuine.

Hatch Amendment #C13: Non-discrimination on abortion and respect for right of conscience

Non-Discrimination on abortion and respect for rights of conscience

(a) NON DISCRIMINATION.-A Federal agency or program, and any State or local government that receives Federal financial assistance under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act), may not-

1) subject any individual or institutional health care entity to discrimination, or

2) require any health plan created or regulated under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act), to subject any individual or institutional health care entity to discrimination, on the basis that the health care entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.

(b) DEFINITION.-In this section, the term “health care entity” includes an individual physician or other health care professional, a hospital, a provider-sponsored organization, a health maintenance organization, a health insurance plan, or any other kind of health care facility, organization, or plan.

(c) ADMINISTRATION.-The Office for Civil Right of the Department of Heath and Human Services is designated to receive complaints of discrimination based on this section, and coordinate the investigation of such complaints.

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4 Responses to Why No Protection of the Right of Conscience?

  1. Lilly O says:

    If you start asking that question, I think you have to decide where to stop asking the questions.

    Like why “the greatest country ever created on the face of the planet” can’t just agree on a health care plan OR or why isn’t “the golden rule” enough for humankind to simply know how to behave OR why did we, as supposedly rational, level-headed people, even need “the bible” in the first place? Shouldn’t we just know how to behave?

    Cuz we can’t fundamentally agree! ;o)

    ….too far?

  2. Scott says:

    Ha! Nice.

    But isn’t the fact (inarguable fact) that we can’t agree mean that we need to allow people the freedom to disagree? I don’t imagine this is unique to our generation, but there really is no debate at all going on. Everyone’s vehement, no one seems to be thinking, and no one is allowing for the possibility that we can disagree and continue to be partners in other things. This is an example of that, imo.

  3. Lilly O says:

    You know I am gonna jump all over the “inarguable fact” in your comment…right? ;o) I agree the politicians (and protesters (on both sides)) are being narrow-minded ninny-muggins. For sure. But if it isn’t this issue, it will be another. May I direct you to http://www.procon.org?

    Or just ask:

    Will you vaccinate your kids for H1N1?
    Where do you stand on vaccinations?
    Where do you stand on breast feeding?
    Should you have an opinion? Why should you?


    Do you want me to stop, now???

  4. Scott says:

    I think we are missing each other here. The “inarguable fact” that I mentioned is this: people don’t agree on things, and aren’t going to.

    My view of the “Right of Conscience” is that it recognizes this inarguable fact – some people are going to morally object to abortion, and protecting their right not to participate in them is perfectly reasonable and good for everybody.

    I originally wrote the post because I honestly can not see the other side of this argument.

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